Launched in 2001 by Jack Schuler and daughter, Tanya Schuler Sharman, the Schuler Scholar Program (SSP) was originally conceived as a vehicle for the Schuler Family Foundation to provide college scholarship assistance to bright, motivated high school students in order for them to matriculate to selective, private colleges and universities. Students at partner high schools in the Chicagoland area would be chosen in the spring of their freshman year to receive mentoring and college counseling while in high school and a scholarship award for college.
Waukegan High School was selected as a partner in 2002. In an effort to jump start the program, in addition to selecting a group of freshman scholars, two college scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors. Shortly thereafter the program evolved to include providing high school academic support and enrichment programs designed to prepare the scholars for the rigors of a selective college. In 2006, SSP partnered with Round Lake High School and in 2008 the first class of Schuler Scholars was selected at Warren Township High School. In 2009, scholars from Highland Park High School joined the program and in 2010 the partnership expanded to Maine East High School. In 2011 the SSP renewed its partnership with St. Martin de Porres High School.
In 2009, in an effort to expand its impact on the young people served, the SSP modified its scholar selection strategy and began accepting applications from students in the spring of their 8th grade year in school. In the new model, the selected scholars receive an additional year of programming while in high school.
With a growing number of Schuler Scholars on selective college campuses across the country, it became clear that scholar support was also needed during the college years. Today, a Schuler Outreach Coordinator serves as a liaison between the college scholars, Alumni and staff and provides guidance to the scholars as they navigate life in a place far from home.
Schuler Scholars visiting Colgate University pose with Julio Guzman, left, Colgate '15 and Waukegan '11
RLHS Schuler class of 2010