Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Announces Class of 2015

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200 Students Selected - Largest Number of Future Teachers Enrolled in Program’s History

Golden Apple proudly announces the selection of the 2015 class of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program, a group of 200 dynamic young people who have chosen to dedicate themselves to a future career educating children in schools of need. (See our website for the complete list of Golden Apple Scholars.)

Including the class of 2015, the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program has grown to more than 1,800 statewide participants since its inception in 1989. The program is uniquely designed to prepare future teachers to thrive in the most challenging high-needs school environments where more resilient teachers are desperately needed.

“We applaud these young people for making the selfless choice to inspire and lead future generations of students through a career in education,” said Dominic Belmonte, Golden Apple president and CEO. “As teachers they will experience the reward of improving the lives of thousands of children. We know from experience that excellent teachers produce successful students and we welcome this new class of future educators with deep gratitude and enthusiasm.”

The Scholars program has been proven to profoundly improve persistence and graduation rates among participants. In addition, the program has been shown to have a significant impact on workforce development by helping low-income and under-represented students gain necessary skill development for a lasting career in teaching. Evidence of the success of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program includes:

  • 1,682 students were nominated; 200 Golden Apple Scholars were selected for the Class of 2015
  • Over 800 Golden Apple Scholars are now teaching in over 500 schools of need in Illinois.
  • Over 80% of Scholars who enter teaching remain at least 5 years, compared with 55% statewide.
  • More than 665,000 students in Illinois have been taught by Golden Apple Scholars since 1989.
  • 50% of our Scholars earn more in their first year of teaching than their total household income at the time they applied to college.

The 2015 class of Scholars represents a diverse group of young people from across the state of Illinois:

  • 57% are first generation college students
  • 38% are from very low/low income households
  • 50% are people of color
  • 21% are men and 79% are women

The program provides tuition assistance to each future teacher while they pursue an undergraduate education. Beginning the summer after high school graduation and continuing throughout their undergraduate years, Scholars benefit from four teaching internships, ongoing academic and career mentoring and course work on the art of teaching delivered by Golden Apple Award‐winning teachers. When Scholars complete the program, they have acquired more than three times the classroom teaching experience garnered by traditionally prepared teachers. Golden Apple continues to support Scholars after they begin their teaching careers through ongoing mentoring and professional development. In return for the financial, academic, and professional development support that Golden Apple provides, Scholars agree to teach in a high-need school in Illinois for five years following college graduation.

Nominations for the 2016 class of Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois will open on May 1, 2015. Nominate a student, or students may also nominate themselves, at

About Golden Apple
2015 marks Golden Apple’s 30th year of innovating teacher preparation to transform both the careers of teachers, as well as the lives of students in Illinois. Our focus is on advancing educational excellence for Illinois’ most under-served students. We begin by recognizing high school and collegiate talent with a passion for teaching and a drive to create positive change for students and their communities. We enhance their college education with exemplary advanced teacher preparation, game-changing resources and lifelong support, through our Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program.

Golden Apple is composed of recognized superior educators, including Golden Apple Award recipients and finalists, leading a passionate team of devoted staff with technical and program expertise, as well as a connected and committed board of directors charged with overseeing our strategic vision. Visit for more information.

Media contact:
Eileen Rochford
Ph: 312-953-3305

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Eileen Rochford
The Harbinger Group
+1 312-953-3305
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since: 02/2009
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2015 Golden Apple Scholars Press Release