Lake County’s Schuler Scholars follow the Ivy

May 24, 2011

The Schuler Scholar program arrived in Lake County a decade ago with the goal of preparing disadvantaged but highly motivated high school students for acceptance into the nation’s top institutions of higher learning, including ivy league schools like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown.

Since then, Schuler Scholars from high schools in Waukegan, Round Lake, Gurnee and Highland Park — and Maine East in Park Ridge — have been accepted into those and other highly selective colleges and universities. They have also been awarded millions in scholarships by the Lake Forest-based Schuler Family Foundation.

On Saturday, two Schuler Scholars were co-valedictorians with distinguished roles in the Round Lake High School Class of 2011 commencement ceremony. Samantha Danguilan of Hainesville will attend Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Steven Balog of Round Lake Beach will matriculate at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Danguilan, who earned a 4.66 GPA, said she was sure to have gone to college, but most certainly not to one of the nation’s premier schools for women. Smith boasts a “world-class faculty of scholars fully engaged with their students’ intellectual development.”

“I’ve always been a bright kid, but Schuler definitely helped me stay on that path and pushed me farther than I might have gone,” said Danguilian, who attended St. Gilbert Elementary in Grayslake.

Without Schuler, Danguilian said, she likely would not have applied to or even considered “more prestigious schools.”

Schuler Executive Director Candace Browdy attributes Schuler’s success to commitment by member high schools and families and scholars “who pushed beyond what they even expected.”

“We’re really focusing on academics, on being prepared for college and aggressively attacking academic challenges,” Browdy said. “It’s a testament to our staff and their ability to work well with high schools and parents.”

This is the second graduating class at Round Lake High School to include Schuler Scholars. Twenty-eight incoming Round Lake High freshmen — scholars are selected in eighth grade at all schools except Waukegan — will take on the Schuler challenge next fall.

“It’s a rigorous program, and the kids have to commit and buy into it,” said Round Lake High Principal Kurt Sinclair. “If they do that, they reap wonderful benefits.”



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