Cherry Scholars gather at the 2018 Award Dinner.Photo by Rich Foreman

The Warren “Billy” Cherry Scholarship Fund honored 20 Evanston Township High School graduates at its annual award dinner on April 29. The Cherry Fund provides financial assistance to ETHS graduates who wish to pursue an associate, bachelor or graduate degree in education or youth work. In its first year, the Fund was able to provide assistance for one ETHS graduate. This year, the Fund awarded $50,000 in scholarships – an all-time record for the organization.

Named in memory of Warren Cherry, a much-loved and respected Evanston educator, the Cherry Scholarship Fund was established in 1993, three years after his death. The Fund has made awards to more than 200 young people over the last 25 years. Part of the selection process is to identify and award applicants whose circumstances would otherwise make it difficult to realize their dream to serve others. The ability to overcome obstacles and contribute to the community are qualities found in all Cherry Scholars.

Keynote speaker at the event was Monique Parsons, who was named President/CEO at McGaw YMCA in April, after acting as Interim President/CEO since November 2017. Ms. Parsons told the audience that her upbringing in Evanston and experiences as a community member and engaged leader helped to prepare her for her current role at the YMCA. “Action and intentionality mean more than titles,” Parsons said. She encouraged the Cherry Scholarship recipients to persevere in the face of adversity.

“Stay motivated, stay focused, keep working and writing your own story. The outcome will be better than you ever imagined,” she said.

The event also saw a record number of attendees, with 170 people at the award dinner, held at Maggiano’s in Skokie. The organization will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Cherry Scholarship Fund on Sept. 29. More information is available at

Recipients of 2018 Cherry Scholarship Awards were Jocelyn Becerra, Shaquerra Blackwell, Adrianna Carter, Jesse Chatz, Mylisha Harvey, Ryan Johnson, Alando Massie, Alanté Massie, Jasmine Medina, Nayeli Mejia, Jose Morales-Martinez, Jenica Mullins, Nathan Norman, Jasmine Perez, Jennifer Rodrigues-Gomez, Jaydlyn Rogers, Dajah Russell, Yuli Salgado, Sarita Smith and Caitlin Strickland.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.