Robert Reece and Patti Cherry Reece at the annual Cherry Scholarship awards ceremony, held this year in the ETHS parking lot because of COVID-19.
RoundTable photo
Robert Reece and Patti Cherry Reece at the annual Cherry Scholarship awards ceremony, held this year in the ETHS parking lot because of COVID-19. RoundTable photo

A parade of scholars wound its way through the west parking lot of Evanston Township High School on June 28, as the Cherry Scholarship Fund presented awards totaling $80,000 to 21 new and returning Cherry Scholars.

Members of the Cherry Scholarship committee greeted visitors and handed them cherry-red cowbells to cheer the students.

The scholars disembarked from the cars and lined up to receive their awards, the demarcation of the parking spaces an easy reminder of appropriated social-distancing.

Patricia Cherry Reece, brother of the late Warren Cherry, for whom the scholarships are named, and her husband, Robert Reece, made the presentations, as Mr. Reece emceed the ceremony.

This year’s awardees, some new and some returning, and their schools are as follows:

Alexandria Bolling, Howard University

Alexandra Cesar, University of Illinois, Chicago

Lauren Davis, Spelman College

Wendy Becerra Delgado, Lake Forest College

Jeron Dorsey, Northwestern University

Michelle Hernandez, Marquette University

Ryan Johnson, DePaul University

Leila Lemieux-Jordan, Oakton Community College

Jermey McCray, Oakton Community College

Jasmine Medina, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Maria Mendoza, University of Illinois, Chicago

Nathan Norman, Northeastern University

Chassa Pratt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Jennifer Rodriguez-Gomez, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Jaydlyn Rogers, University of Illinois, Chicago

Jocelyn Segura, University of Illinois, Chicago

Litzy Segura, University of Illinois, Chicago

Caitlin Strickland, Elon University

Mauranne Vernier, Spelman College

Alanna Williams, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Asya Wright, Alabama A&M University

Mr. Cherry was an educator whose impact on teachers, students and their families was far-reaching. After his death in 1990, a small group of friends, colleagues, educators and fans established the Warren “Billy” Cherry Scholarship Fund in 1993. The mission of the Warren W. “Billy” Cherry Scholarship is to perpetuate Mr. Cherry’s acceptance of all people, his commitment to the highest standards of educational excellence and his energetic dedication to enriching the children and institutions of Evanston.

The fund has made financing a college education a little easier for more than 164 Evanston Township High School graduates.

This year two awards Nathalie Nicholson and Pat Doyle, who had been part of the organization. Ms. Doyle was a primary teacher at Lincoln School, who retired in 1997 and moved to California. The June 28 program said she was known “for her sense of humor, her energy and thoughtfulness. Her dedication to the community had a far reach … and, in times of trouble, Pat was always there to lend a helping hand.”  Lauren Davis received the award in honor of Ms. Doyle.

Ms. Nicholson was a “beloved member of the Cherry Scholarship family. She was a student athlete at both ETHS and DePaul University. … She epitomized joy, kindness and empathy, in part because she knew the struggle of battling a devastating mental illness.” Caitlin Strickland, a friend and Cherry Scholar, posted about Ms. Nicholson in September: “She was a strong woman, an independent woman, so unapologetically herself … We promise to keep your legacy alive … You are missed, you are loved – and you forever will be.