Dear Friend,
Congratulations to our Class of 2017 graduates! We are extremely proud of our scholars who continue to excel; 100% of our graduates have gained admission into four year colleges or Universities, 90% make the honor roll each year and many participate in student government, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Each year we are able to deliver success because of the dedicated students, families, staff, mentors and volunteers.
As we add a number of graduates to our alumni list there is still a greater demand to support more academically motivated students with a financial need.  We continue to grow and have added 50 new freshmen scholars. However, we turned away hundreds of qualified candidates because the need is greater than for which we have capacity. We rely upon supporters like you to champion our scholars! Help us continue to fulfill our mission and extend life-changing support to more high potential students in our community for years to come. Become a Mentor, Get Involved or Fund a Scholar - We Need You!
We cannot wait to see you at our 11th Annual Leadership Breakfast on September 15th at the Standard Club, where we will honor Roberto Herencia, HFS Leadership Award Recipient & Keynote Speaker, and Bill Bartholomay, HFS Lifetime Leadership Award Recipient. Please add September 15th to your calendar!
"I would like to thank all the donors for helping my family afford sending me to a private high school." ~Matthew T. '17
"I would like to thank the unsung heroes. Everyone who has donated a penny or more to the HFS organization and those who recognize the power of education, not only academics but being educated on fixing the problems that plague society." Jeremy A. '17
Desirée Pepper-Venzant
Executive Director
Our Eleventh Annual Leadership Breakfast!
100% College Acceptance!
Our 2017 graduates will be attending the following colleges and universities:
  • Albion College
  • Bradley University
  • DePaul University 
  • DePauw University
  • Loyola University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • St. Edwards University
  • St. Louis University
  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Michigan
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wheaton College
A Glimpse at the 2017 Graduates!
Scholar Spotlight: Jocelyn Durán-Martinez
Josephinum Academy, Salutatorian 2017
If someone asked me to describe HFS in one word, I would choose the word "blessing." At the beginning of my freshmen year I was crying on the inside wondering whether I had made the correct choice of leaving boarding school and losing my full ride scholarship. Coming back, my mom and I went to all the schools I had been accepted to to see if I could still enroll. Every “No, we are sorry we cannot accept freshman transfers” made me lose my
hopes of having the bright future I imagined. After a week of searching, we decided to ask Ms. Desirée for help. I had previously met Ms. Desirée through my sister, Evelin Duran-Martinez, who was an HFS scholar. We found many schools that offered me a spot, but no financial aid. After calling most of the HFS partner schools, Ms. Desirée said something along the lines of “Have you ever considered an all-girls school?” In my head I thought "Oh boy, no definitely not.” However, my heart was open. So Ms. Desirée contacted Josephinum Academy and scheduled an appointment for my mom and myself to visit the school. We fell in love with the school; everyone was so wonderful to my family and me. Today I am Salutatorian of my graduating class! I'm glad I came back to Chicago because I was able to continue on my rowing team that I had been on since the 4th grade and meet a wonderful person, my mentor, Brenna.  I remember the first day I met her; she opened up to me, which made me feel more comfortable with her. Little by little I started to gain more trust and confidence with her. She helped me through the college process by editing essays or writing letters of recommendation. She has been a wonderful guide these past three years. Brenna now is like family. I know that even though I will be far away in California, I will still have her there in the times of need. This August, I will be attending Pomona College as a Posse Scholar. I plan on pursuing a pre-med track and graduating from medical school to become a successful surgeon. I know that all the hard work I will put into my studies will help me achieve this goal. I wouldn't be where I am today if it were not for HFS. I thank the Board of Directors of HFS for giving me the opportunity to become an HFS scholar and be part of this amazing HFS family. And I would like to greatly thank Ms. Desirée and my parents as well for offering me their unconditional love and support these past years.
Mentor Spotlight: Brenna Casey
I got involved in HFS the first year that I moved to Chicago. Over the past four years, I have served on the Young Professionals Board and have helped lead the college visit program. My role as a mentor, however, has been far and away the most valuable work I have participated in at HFS. Having been involved in a handful of nonprofit organizations my whole life, I moved to Chicago with the intention of streamlining my energy to a single organization. Working in consulting with very little free time and having an inclination towards working with motivated students, I immediately felt an alignment with HFS and was excited to get an academically motivated mentee to partner with. I remember the first time that Jocelyn and I met- I took her out to dinner at Antique Taco. We spent the remainder 
of our first year relationship building: I attended Jocelyn's rowing meets and theater performances, and took her out to lunch in Wicker Park near her school. We slowly gained one another's trust. During her junior and senior year, Jocelyn asked me to assist in college and scholarship applications. I was honored to step into this role as she set her eyes on a college education and becoming a physician. This past December, Jocelyn was accepted to Pomona College in LA with a full ride tuition scholarship. I have never been more proud of someone in my life. Over the past few months, we have taken the opportunity to celebrate all that she has accomplished by getting her first ever manicure, shake shack runs, and graduation festivities. A few weeks ago, I asked Jocelyn if she ever would have thought that she would be going to college with a full ride. She responded, "Yes. I knew that was the only way, and I put my mind to it." Jocelyn has taught me how to dream big, the value of persistence, and what it means to work hard for your goals. I am forever grateful for our friendship and am eternally changed by the mentoring relationship that God gave Jocelyn and me. 
For more Scholar and Mentor Spotlight stories follow HFS Chicago Scholars on Facebook and Instagram 
Simply Amazing!
Dear Friends,
I had the pleasure of attending my first HFS Scholar Awards Banquet last month, and all I can say is "Wow! What an awesome celebration!"  
Picture this - St. Ignatius College Prep's beautiful Dining Hall packed to the brim with Scholars dressed to the nines for their big night, 
hugging each other in greeting. Festive bright-colored balloons and families eager to share a meal and conversation with one another.  Our wonderful Scholar families and friends pitching in to make and serve the meal we shared.  50, yes 50, new Scholars being welcomed to the fold.  Scholars and Mentors relishing in pure moments of joy.  A Senior Scholar sharing his extremely moving story of all that HFS means to him.  Blushing Mentors coming forward to receive Outstanding Mentor Awards because they made such a difference in their Scholar's life that their Scholar nominated them for this honor. Directors of Academics beaming with pride as they called the names of their Scholars to come up and receive academic excellence honors, service awards and other special awards. Our founder, Mike Kennelly, surprised and touched as he accepted a special gift from the Scholars.  Everyone affiliated with HFS Chicago Scholars telling Mike once again how much they love our Executive Director, Ms. Desiree.  
The smile never left my face that night.  This is why we are here. This is what we're all about.  This is what it means to be a member of the HFS family.  I am truly humbled to be a small part of it.  
Warm regards,
Angela Mehalek
Director of Development
Here are just a few snippets from our Senior Scholar, Byron F.'s Opening Address:
"Over the past four years I have been able to prosper thanks to HFS...I was just a 13-year old boy trying to find his way in this crazy city, and I had lost my direction in life due to the death of my father...Thanks to HFS, I was able to receive a great education in a safe and diverse environment... HFS is more than just a scholarship fund to me, they are my extended family that has been there for my ups and downs... Through homelessness, hunger and sickness, I have been able to fall back on them for support...My mentors, Eric and Bill, showed me where hard work and grit can take me...Over the years, HFS helped me to find direction in my life...I know for a fact that thanks to HFS I'm ready to pursue my career."
Byron graduated from Marist High School this spring with over a 4.0 Grade Point Average and will attend the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana where he plans to study Electrical Engineering.
We celebrated our scholars and mentors at our Annual Awards Banquet!
Welcome HFS Scholars Class of 2021!
Bridget A. - Mother McAuley
Stephanie A. - De La Salle
Brooke A. - Marist
Jared A. - St. Ignatius 
Kyesha B. - Fenwick
Angel C. - St. Joseph
Andrea C. - Chicago Laboratory Schools
Delaney C. - Montini Catholic
Travis C. - De La Salle
Aniyah D. - De La Salle
Odera E. - Mount Carmel High
Isabel E. - Loyola Academy
Mya G. - Marist
Pamela G. -  De La Salle
Mckinley G. - Holy Trinity
Heidi G. - St. Ignatius
Jacob G. - St. Rita of Cascia 
Joshua H. - Marist
Josiah H. -  Marist
Alejandro H. - St. Rita of Cascia
Cindie H. - St. Ignatius
Sarah J. - Loyola Academy
Anisa K. - Regina Dominican
Yasmin M. - Walther Christian Academy
Arianna M. - Fenwick
Nathan M. - Brother Rice
Ahmad M. - Chicago Hope Academy
Nneayo O. - Marian Catholic
Nnedi O. - Marian Catholic
Jessica O. - Trinity
Nicole O. - St. Ignatius
Stephanie O. - Loyola Academy
Stanley P. - Mount Carmel
Ashley P. - Loyola Academy
Isabelle P. - Mother McAuley
David Q. - Cristo Rey
Anthony R. - St. Patrick 
Jacqueline R. - De La Salle
Adriana R. - Mother McAuley
Hope R. - Marian Catholic
Faith R. - Marian Catholic
Diego S. - Fenwick
Julissa S. - Fenwick
Roman S. - Loyola Academy
Jonathon T. - Loyola Academy
Jillian T. - De La Salle
Channah T. - Regina Dominican
Kayla V. - Trinity
Diego V. - St. Laurence
Jalen W. - De La Salle
All in for Scholars Poker & Casino Night a Huge Success!
450 guests attended the 6th Annual All in for Scholars Poker & Casino Night at the gorgeous Galleria Marchetti and raised $55,000 to support HFS Chicago Scholars!  
Our deepest thanks to our Young Professionals Board for such a great night, especially co-chairs Brandon Walker and Jamie Wismer; Casino Night Committee Alison Godawa, Michael Praljak, Melissa Daly, Conner Murphy, Blake Stone, Michael Fertl, Meredith Mansinne and Molli Warsh.  Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers, and all who contributed and came out for a fun night on the town!  We are truly grateful for your support!
Rick Cairo was the champion of the poker tournament and is off to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas!
We gratefully acknowledge our generous corporate sponsors!
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 Fund Our Growing Program When You Shop on Amazon
Visit Amazon Smile and enter "HFS Chicago Scholars" as your designated charity and .05% of your purchase will go to HFS!