Rockford Ill. (WTVO)—

A big concern involving the college process is figuring out how to pay for school. Scholarships are a lifeline to so many students and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois has a mission to help students receive scholarships. We’re chatting with development coordinator Ciara Stanly and scholarship recipient Sydnie Smith about the scholarship opportunities CFNIL is offering and the scholarship Sydnie is starting of her own. As a CFNIL scholarship recipient herself, Sydnie understands how important local resources to support the educational aspirations of local students can be. This knowledge combined with her desire to honor the life and memory of her stepmom, Katrina Smith, who passed away ten years ago this fall, inspired her to establish the Katrina Smith Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will provide educational resources for students who have also lost a parent or stepparent.

“Katrina was a happy, kind, generous, loving person. She loved exploring the world around us. She sought fun in everything she did, and she never took herself too seriously. We miss her every day. She spent her life giving back to the world, so we created this scholarship to make a lasting positive impact in her memory,” said Sydnie. Community members who knew Katrina or who wish to support the scholarship effort may make donations by visiting