Pictured are the recipients of this year’s Msgr. Ronald C. Bill Scholarship (left to right), Alexandra Miller, Patrick Gazzillo, and Megan Stanton, with Msgr. Bill (second from left). (Photo provided)
Submitted by Donna Exline
Sacred Heart Church of Cicero held a Baccalaureate Mass July 23 for graduating seniors, which included the presentation of three Msgr. Ronald C. Bill Scholarship Awards for the 2020-2021 calendar year to Alexandra Miller, Patrick Gazzillo, and Megan Stanton. The church’s pastor, Father Richard Prior, was celebrant, with Msgr. Bill presiding.
The Msgr. Ronald C. Bill Scholarship began as a present to Father Bill when he retired as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in 2001. It was created to honor Father Bill’s retirement and to remember his love and commitment to the youth of the Cicero parish. Father Bill was instrumental in planning events for the entire parish, but he spent incredible time developing programs for the parish youth.
The purpose of the Scholarship Fund is to provide an endowment base that ensures annual educational assistance to college-bound students who are recognized as outstanding young people for their personal accomplishments, and to encourage them to continue their personal development through completion of a college education.
The scholarship was set up in compliance with state and federal regulations so that it is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charity. The scholarship’s Board of Directors has a subcommittee of five college graduates, known as the Selection Committee. After students submit their applications by the deadline (which is available on the church’s web site), the Selection Committee is given packets with applicant materials to review. The committee members do not know the identities of the applicants when they review the applications. In awarding the scholarships, the members consider the applicants’ schoolwork, extracurricular activities and volunteer work, personal essay, and their future direction as well-rounded individuals. The committee members review the materials, then collectively make their final decisions.
Since 2002, the Board of Directors has provided scholarships to many students, whose names are listed on the Msgr. Ronald C. Bill plaque at Sacred Heart Church. The Board has given a total of $32,500 in awards to date. This year, the Board awarded three $1,500 scholarships to Miller, Gazzillo, and Stanton.