Bishop O’Neill Scholarships Awarded on His 100th Birthday
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
December 21, 2017
ROCKFORD—“This is always a special day,” Michael Kagan, superintendent of schools, said as he welcomed this year’s Bishop O’Neill Scholarship Award winners, their principals and family members on  Dec. 14.
 
When Bishop Arthur J. O’Neill retired, Kagan explained, he chose to establish the scholarship to help with tuition for “worthy Catholic school students.” Catholic schools, he added, “were near and dear to (Bishop O’Neill’s) heart.”
 
Awards are provided each year to one Catholic school family in each deanery. This year’s awards were $600 each. They have been given out for more than 20 years since Bishop O’Neill’s retirement in 1994.
 
Kagan asked the students what part of their school is their favorite, and the answers ranged from “It’s a Catholic school,” to details about weekly Masses and adoration. 
 
Fifth grader Timmy Duguid of St. Mary School in Dixon said he was glad to be an altar server. He also said he had not known about the award until he learned he won.
 
“I was freaked out about this for the past week,” he said, “but now I’m glad I was chosen.”
 
Students helped answer questions about Bishop O’Neill, and after hearing the answers on where and when he was born, most of them figured out that the day would have been the bishop’s 100th birthday.
Bishop O’Neill was the seventh bishop of Rockford. He was followed by Bishop Thomas G. Doran and then by Bishop David Malloy.
 
Before heading to an 11 a.m. commitment, Bishop Malloy came down to the Diocesan Administration Center lobby to shake hands with the award winners and greet their families.
 
Awarded this year’s scholarships were:
– Roberto (fourth grade) and Ceniz (seventh) Rubio of St. Rita of Cascia School, Aurora
– Natalia Jimenez (fourth) of St. Mary School, DeKalb
– Angelique Chipp (sixth) of St. Patrick School, St. Charles
– Brian Harrington (seventh) of Aquin Junior/Senior High School, Freeport
– Olivia Alm (eighth) of Montini Middle School, McHenry
– Brysen Woehler (third) of St. James School, Rockford
– Timmy Duguid (fifth) of St. Mary School, Dixon