D203 Teacher Union Awards Scholarships

Students honored for their Community Contributions

Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each.  The Naperville-based teachers’ union annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of members, and one scholarship to an education major in their third year of study.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community. These scholarships were awarded in May, 2022.

The high-school scholarship recipients are Adam Johnson from Neuqua Valley High School, Christopher Comer from Naperville Central High School, and Garrett Dahn from Naperville North High School. The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Cora Ondrus from Quincy College.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors.  The Future in Education Award was added this year to help support a collegiate student entering the field of education.  The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support provided to the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Adam Johnson

This fall, Adam will be attending Michigan State University to study accounting.  Adam expertly balances his school life and work-life by participating in a wide variety of activities in both areas.  As an athlete, Adam participated in both Cross County and Track early in his high school years.  As a senior, he shifted to intramural sports, playing both basketball and volleyball.  Adam is also passionate about the benefits of lifting weights and healthy eating.

In the meantime, Adam has also been busy outside of school, especially as an employee and as a volunteer.  Adam has held jobs as a lifeguard and as a food service worker at two different restaurants.  Adam volunteers at Feed Our Starving Children, the Winged Foot Foundation, Giftmart, and the Salvation Army.  Despite his hectic schedule, Adam is still an AP and Honors student at Neuqua Valley High School.  He credits his family and his 9th grade teachers for significantly impacting his ability to study and succeed in school today.

Christopher Comer

Christopher will be attending the Colorado School of Mines to study Electrical Engineering with a focus on renewable energy.  As a student at Naperville Central High School, Christopher has been especially impacted as a member of the Track and Field Club.  There he learned the value of teamwork and selflessness, which led to him being named as a co-captain of the team his Junior and Senior years.  This idea of teamwork was manifested clearly when he organized his team to assist with the cleanup of the 2021 Naperville tornado.

Christopher was not just a Track and Field captain.  He also founded the Speed Club, geared towards helping athletes create speed-improving workouts.  Additionally, he played Junior Varsity Soccer for three years and he was a captain of the Galaxy Soccer Club for three years.

His academic accomplishments and his entrepreneurship skills demonstrate his creativity, perseverance, and business acumen.  Christopher is a member of the National Honor Society and has won an NCHS Academic Excellence Award.  He is an Illinois State Scholar and he is in the Redhawk Leadership Academy.  While focusing on academics, Christopher also volunteered for Harvest Sunday Feed My Starving Children.  As an entrepreneur, Christopher also created and managed two businesses–one as a deck refinisher and another manufacturing Fidget Spinners. 

Garrett Dahn

Garrett will be attending Iowa State University to study aerospace engineering.  Garrett credits the wide variety of course choices at Naperville North High School to help him find his niche in the engineering world.  “Research and Design” and “Architectural Drafting” have been particularly impactful courses for him. 

Garret has served as captain of not one, but two varsity athletic teams at Naperville North High School—wrestling and gymnastics.  Despite the time commitment required of each team, Garrett also found time to volunteer for the City Council Campaign of Ian Holzhauer.  It was by participating in Holzhauer’s campaign that Garrett discovered organizational and leadership skills that helped him be successful in other areas of his life.  

Cora Ondrus

Cora currently attends Quincy University with a major in Elementary Education.  She is driven by her desire to help others, particularly those who come from less-than-ideal circumstances.  She states, “I hope to make a difference in these kids’ lives and let them know that they’re loved for, cared for, and can be successful in life.”

Cora is a proponent of investing time and resources into foundational learning in the primary grades.  The reading and writing skills learned in kindergarten and first grade are so important prerequisite skills for later grades, yet some students fall behind without the expert care of an excellent teacher.  Furthermore, Cora believes that an important key to learning is allowing oneself to take academic risks.  If the teacher has established a trustful learning environment, then students will be more likely to move away from their comfort zone, which is where real learning begins. 

About the NUEA

The NUEA is the association of 1400 certified staff members who work in Naperville School District 203.  They are a unified voice advocating for students and the teaching profession.  Led by President Dan Iverson, they work with the community, administration, students, and parents in District 203 to help provide the best educational experience possible to residents of Naperville, Bolingbrook, and Lisle with District 203.

For More Information

Please contact David Carroll