Marlene Caslin Memorial Scholarship
For the first time, United North Elementary School in Alexis will introduce a scholarship program. The Marlene Caslin Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to one high-achieving fifth-grade student annually to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM program in Chicago during the summer following fifth-grade graduation.
The STEM program is conducted annually each summer. United North fifth-grade teachers can nominate students whom they believe will be good candidates for the program. A student must meet certain academic and behavioral criteria in order to be nominated. Beginning this school year, the nominees will have the option to fill out a scholarship application, where in part they will be required to explain why they would be a good candidate for the STEM program. A panel composed of administrative staff will review the applications and select a candidate for the scholarship.
The NYLF sends informational packets to families of nominees. The cost to attend the program, including room and board, is currently around $2,600. The scholarship fund will pay the amount directly to the NYLF for the winner of the scholarship. Other qualified nominees may attend the program, but only one scholarship will be awarded each year. United North has had two students attend the STEM program in the past.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Through the program, students spend six days at one of the sites throughout the United States, exploring career options with hands-on experience and state-of-the-art simulations. Among other tasks, they currently learn to program robots, train as doctors, and conduct crime scene investigations. The Chicago program is conducted at Loyola University.
The scholarship can only be used to attend the STEM program. If selected students choose not to attend, the scholarship money will be held in the scholarship fund for future candidates.
Marlene Caslin was a long-time resident of Alexis. Her children, grandchildren, and now a great-grandson have attended elementary schools in Alexis, and her husband taught school within the district for part of his teaching career.
“She took great joy in watching her grandchildren’s eyes light up when they became excited about something they learned at school or described a new experience,” said her daughter, Susan, who is an aide at the school. “She would be very proud to have her name on this scholarship, knowing that it is opening doors to wonderful new experiences for these students.”