Spinoso Masters Scholarships awards $30K to local high school graduates

SYCAMORE - Four local high school graduates have been awarded scholarships through the Spinoso Masters program administered by the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

According to a recent news release from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, the 2021 Spinoso Masters Scholarship recipients are Kayla Baum, Jacob Bjork, Alma Lazaro and Zachary Stepanski.

This year, $30,000 was divided among each of them as they pursue master’s or doctoral-level education. The scholarships are made possible through annual donations from John and Vivian Spinoso to the Spinoso Masters Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation.

To receive a Spinoso Masters Scholarship, individuals must be graduates of a high school located in DeKalb County and enrolled in a post-undergraduate institution working toward a master’s or higher degree in any field of study.

The four award recipients have a variety of educational pursuits. Baum is a 2016 graduate of DeKalb High School and is pursuing a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Gannon University in Ruskin, Florida. Bjork is a 2016 graduate of Sycamore High School and is pursuing a Doctorate of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Lazaro is a 2016 graduate of DeKalb High School and is pursuing a Master of Social Work from Aurora University in Aurora. Stepanski is a 2015 graduate of DeKalb High School and is pursuing a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

“I want to do something that I am passionate about, and that is meaningful for the good of others,” Lazaro said in a news release. “Thank you to John and Vivian Spinoso. There are no words to express my humble gratitude. I am honored to receive this scholarship. It will forever serve as a reminder that others believe in me and my passion for helping others.”

The Spinosos are longtime residents of DeKalb County who said they have a strong desire to support continuing education. In its 10th year of award distributions, the Spinoso Masters Scholarship has awarded more than $300,000 to local graduates.

“We are proud each year to partner with the Spinoso family in awarding scholarships to very deserving graduate-level students,” Foundation Grants Director Tiffany McQueen Lewis said in a news release. “There are few scholarships that support students beyond undergraduate studies. This assistance empowers graduate-level students to invest more time and energy in their education.”

For questions or information on scholarships, please contact the Community Foundation at 815-748-5383 or grants@dekalbccf.org.