Courtesy Henry Kranz
Scholarship Winner Joe Parratore Julian Middle School social studies teacher, Joe Parratore, has been teaching for six years. He's the 2013 recipient of The James A. Gates Oak Park District 97 Teacher Scholarship. This provides $1000 to help defray educational loans. Mr. Parratore was selected because he is a teacher who aspires to positively affect the futures of his students, embodies a worthy role model for his colleagues, and enhances the quality and the reputation of Oak Park Elementary School District 97.
He attended the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and previously taught at Glenbard North. While teaching, he earned his Masters degree in Curriculum Instruction from Concordia University in River Forest. "Working at Julian truly has been a blessing for me and my teaching career. The students are a pleasure to work with and the community has been extremely kind to me in my first two years in the district."
James Gates is a retired teacher who currently serves on the District 97 Board as Vice President. He established this scholarship fund in 2006 to help teachers repay college loans. Mr. Gates worked with the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation to set up the scholarship fund. "If you are thinking of a way to honor a cause or someone who is near to your heart, the Foundation is a perfect place to go to do that" said Gates. "It is the ideal vehicle for responding to that voice within your heart."
Joe Parratore is particularly glad to have the scholarship help now. He and his wife, also a teacher, are expecting their first child in September.