BHS counselor honored with Foundation’s “Exceptional Partner” Award

Bolingbrook High School Counselor Mark Ondracek.

Bolingbrook High School’s Mark Ondracek is a 2017 recipient of the Give Something Back Foundation’s Exceptional School Partner Award.

The award is given annually to a staff member at a GSBF partner school who “serves as an advocate” for the Foundation’s efforts to give students from modest economic backgrounds “a fair shot at higher education,” according to GSBY Founder Bob Carr.

That “fair shot” applies to freshmen attending high schools from Aurora to Crete-Monee and everywhere in between. Scholars are given an opportunity to attend Lewis University, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, University of St. Francis or Blackburn College at no cost when they graduate from high school. The students selected each year work with a mentor and participate in activities throughout high school that will prepare them for college.

This year, 14 Bolingbrook High School freshmen received Give Something Back Foundation scholarships, more than any other school in the Will County area. In the past two years, BHS freshmen have received 22 GSBF scholarships, one third more than Joliet West and Aurora West, the next closest recipients.

“While I feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I had a role in these students receiving this opportunity, I am more delighted that our numbers continue to rise each year,” Ondracek said. “These students do the hard work in the classroom and they have earned their scholarships.”

To be considered for a GSBY scholarship, students must be Pell Grant eligible and must have at least a 3.0 GPA in 7th and 8th grade.

“We’re already planning for next year’s freshmen class,” Ondracek said. “I would love to increase our numbers again.”

The Give Something Back Foundation was established in 2003 through the generosity of Carr, a former Lockport resident who wanted to give back to his community. Students from 21 high schools in the Will County area are eligible for the award.

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