NUEA Awards Four Scholarships

Three students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each.  The NUEA annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of NUEA members.  Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community.  These scholarships were awarded in May, 2024.

The scholarship recipients are Grace Brady from Nequa Valley High School, Lucas Moen from Naperville Central High School, and Eliana Nungaray from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).

A fourth scholarship of $1500 was awarded to a current college junior or senior who is entering into the field of education. The student must be the child of an NUEA member to be eligible to receive the scholarship. This year’s winner is Grace Lueken from Loyola University.

The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors and college students.  The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support NUEA provides the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.

Grace Brady
Grace Brady plans to major in Sustainability in Food & Environmental Systems at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign this fall. Grace is winner of the 2024 Building Leadership Around Sustainable Transformation contest and has initiated an Illinois bill to require climate change education in all Illinois public schools, which just passed the general assembly and is awaiting the governor’s signature.  As the daughter of two educators, she is a strong supporter of the NUEA, the IEA, and the NEA. 

While at Nequa Valley High School, Grace participated in many extracurricular events, including the Naperville Sustainability Taskforce (NEST) and the Art Honor Society.  She was also a member of the French Honor Society, where she helped plan several service learning opportunities.  

Outside of school, Grace worked as an intern at Accelerate Climate Solutions, where she built their website, conducted research, and organized community events.  She also volunteered for Feed My Starving Children, participated in the Illinois Waterway Cleanup initiative, and helped paint holiday windows for local businesses.  She worked extensively with Rep. Janet Yang-Rohr to develop a bill to guarantee the right of students to contact legislators.  

Lucas Moen
Luke Moen will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he will major in Interdisciplinary Health on a pre-med track.  While a student at Naperville Central High School, Luke prioritized his involvement in school activities, such as the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) his junior year, Business Professionals of America (BPA) his senior year, and National Honors Society his junior and senior years.  As an athlete, Luke participated on the wrestling team for three years.  

Luke also worked hard in community-related services.  He was the Vice-President and Philanthropy Chairman of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL).  He also was an active photographer and videographer, as well as a member of the Saint Elizabeth Seton Parish.

Luke particularly benefitted by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  The training was extensive, requiring over 120 hours of coursework.  Despite the long hours and hard work at a local nursing home, Luke found his passion.  He states, “…caring for those around me fills me with so much pride that it’s nearly indescribable.”  Luke has made a huge difference in the community through his actions.

Eliana Nungaray
This fall, Ellie will be attending Stony Brook University with a major in Marine Science.  Ellie is an active participant in athletics, music, and academic activities at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).  By balancing all three areas, Ellie found success as a student.

As an athlete, she has played soccer for the Team Chicago Soccer Club, Evolution Soccer Club, and the IMSA team, while also serving as a manager for the boy’s soccer team at IMSA in 2022.  As a musician, Ellie has played violin for three seasons in the prestigious Naperville Youth Symphony Orchestra.  And as an academian, Ellie has worked at IMSA as a writing center tutor, a teacher assistant for the STEMbassadors program, and a mentor for the Girls IN2 STEM program.  

Outside of school, Ellie has worked as an intern for the Field Museum of Natural History Mammal and Education Department.  She conducted research on the impact of UV filters on freshwater algae.  She also worked as a Parairie Volunteer for the Forest Preserve District of Will Country.  Ellie’s activities and research have made a major contribution toward benefitting the lives of Illinois residents.

Future in Education Award Winner Grace Lueken
Grace just finished her junior year at Loyola University Chicago.  She is majoring in Secondary Education with an emphasis on History.  Grace noted that the Social Sciences are becoming increasingly politicized.  As a result, teachers must be aware of implicit biases so that all voices may be heard and historical movements may be discussed with honesty and integrity.  Grace’s plan to help overcome these challenges is to teach students how to interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources to help them identify biases and think critically about the topic at hand.

Grace credits District 203 teachers in helping her develop her own critical-thinking skills.  She states that Naperville Central teachers gave her the foundation to help her develop her ability to analyze and organize information meaningfully.  They helped her craft her communication skills so that she could share her perspectives with others clearly and concisely.  She is a passionate and articulate advocate for marginalized people and, as such, will make an excellent history teacher when she completes her college career.  

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 Ross Berkley, 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.