Kelsey Schultz 
McKendree University
A. Montgomery Ward Foundation Scholarship

Now in her senior year at McKendree University, Lebanon, Kelsey Schultz is working toward a classroom career as an elementary school teacher. “When I was 12, I started tutoring and volunteering with kids in the second-grade level,” she says. “I fell in love with spending time with them. I related with them well, especially when I was 12, but now at 22, I still feel the same connection to them that I had then.”

Schultz commutes to McKendree from Bellville and is an elementary education major. “When I decided I wanted to go into teaching, I looked at the different teaching universities in the area, within a 5-hour distance. McKendree ranked very high,” Schultz says. In addition, Schultz is seeking a special education endorsement, which she says will help her serve students better because students with special needs are often in general education classrooms.

Schultz’s ACI scholarship through the A. Montgomery Ward Foundation is helpful, she says. “With tuition at McKendree being $40,000 a year, it’s impossible to go without any sort of aid,” she says. “So, the scholarship from Montgomery Ward has helped in lowering the total of my tuition over the course of my four years. It’s one more thing not to worry about.”

“I am extremely grateful for all of the scholarships I’ve been able to receive over the years,” she adds. “In the future, I hope to be able to give back to college students as well, because it’s absolutely helped me be able to be here.”

Schultz also has a scholarship from the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service and performs 30 hours of community service, including tutoring and recreation with children every semester. “I led a program at the Christian Activity Center for the past two years where we brought kids from East Saint Louis to Lebanon to provide them with a college experience to make them want to come back and further their education,” she says. And Schultz volunteers to spend time with adults with special needs at Trinity Services in nearby Mascoutah and works at the university library.

Martel McGee
Millikin University
ACI General Scholarship

Martel McGee left Chicago to attend Millikin University, Decatur, because of its emphasis on performance learning. In high school, he played football, lacrosse and ran track. “When I learned about Millikin and hands-on experience through performance learning, that was very important to me,” he says. “Performance-learning has led me to many great things in my undergraduate career like opening up a coffee shop in downtown Decatur called Blue Brew.” Millikin, he says, is a great place for students to learn beyond the classroom and participate in the business world.

McGee, a senior and first-generation college student, is majoring in entrepreneurship. With his business experience, he has big plans for after college. “Eventually I would like to open up my own business, either in the Decatur area or in the Chicagoland area. That has always been a big passion of mine.”

McGee is the recipient of an ACI General Scholarship, which provided him an important resource.

“I’ve been financing my college career myself, so the ACI Scholarship was very important to me because it helped me buy textbooks,” he says. “During my college career, I had certain classes to where I didn’t have a textbook to always do my homework. I’d have to find another student who  would be willing to let me use their textbooks. With my ACI scholarship, I was able to purchase my own books. That was just a great help for me, and it also led me help other students who were in need to use my textbooks.”

McGee participates in many Millikin activities. He is president of the Millikin Artists Guild, helping students who want to be in the music industry, or other artist-related industries. The club helps students record and distribute their own musical creations to platforms such as Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify.

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