2016 O’Neill Scholarships Awarded
Bishop O’Neill Scholars in 2016 with Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of schools, are (back left) Erik Villafuerte, (front, from left) Joseph, Jane and John Paul Flaherty, Ethan Hayward, Madison Borg, Theresa and Arianna Perry. Other winners (not pictured) are Joseph, Clare and Joshua Schlickman and Madison and Makenzie Duhon. (Observer photo/Amanda Hudson)
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 19, 2017

ROCKFORD—Students from each of the deaneries of the Diocese of Rockford were awarded $600 scholarships on Dec. 15 at the Diocesan Administration Center.

The annual scholarships come from a foundation begun by the late Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill. He started it with funds collected for him by Catholic schools in 1994 when he retired.

This year’s award winners were from Catholic elementary schools and ranged from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The awards, made out to the students’ schools, were distributed by Michael Kagan, director of Educational Services for the diocese. Bishop David Malloy had another commitment that morning.

Kagan gave the gathering a short history lesson about Bishop O’Neill, who would have turned 99 the day before the presentation.

Students introduced themselves and shared a favorite thing about their schools. They listed principals and teachers, religion class, friends, parent helpers and the positive outlook  that shows up in the smiles on people’s faces.

Students also excelled at answering a few trivia questions that Kagan asked about the late Bishop Thomas G. Doran.

After the presentation, they shared hot chocolate and other treats with the adults.

Scholarship winners are:

�–� Madison Borg, third grade,   of St. Peter School in Geneva;

�–� The Flaherty children — John Paul, fifth; Jane, third, and Joseph, kindergarten — of St. Charles Borromeo School in Hampshire;

�–� Ethan Hayward, eighth, of St. Mary School in Elgin;

�–� The Schlickman children —Joshua, eighth; Clare, sixth, and Joseph, second — of St. Mary School in East Dubuque;

�–� The Perry children —Theresa, seventh, and Arianna, fifth — of St. John the Baptist School in Johnsburg;

�–� Erik Villafuerte, fourth, of St. James School in Belvidere; and

�–� The Duhon children — Madison, fifth, and Makenzie, fourth — of St. Mary School in Sterling.