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Aurora East Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship Endowment Fund

Established 2019

The Aurora East Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship Endowment Fund was created by the Aurora East Educational Foundation.

These awards are available to students graduating from East Aurora High School who reside within East Aurora School District 131 and who are in the top 10% of their class.

Students must attend an accredited institution of higher education within the United States of America on a full-time basis. Accredited institutions may include a two-year college, four-year college or university, or a professional/trade/vocational school.

The Aurora East Educational Foundation was founded in 1993 to fund educational programs in East Aurora School District 131 and throughout the years the foundation has funded scores of programs that have touched the lives of thousands of students throughout the district.


The AEEF would like to recognize and thank the following benefactors whose generosity makes these scholarships possible.  


Note: The following scholarships are housed within the Aurora East Educational Foundation and are not individual funds within the CFFRV Scholarship Program. 


Merry Carey Aurora East Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship in honor of Genevieve Kennedy 

Merry Carey is a 1968 graduate of East High School, and considers herself a “proud Tomcat.”   In 1972, she graduated from Illinois State University in Music Education, and later earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University.  She taught for 34 years in Dist. 129, and also directed many youth and adult choirs in the area.  She has served on numerous community boards, and is in her sixth year as an Aurora East Educational Association director. 

Ms. Carey has dedicated this scholarship to Genevieve Kennedy, the long-time choir director at Simmons Middle School.  Ms. Carey believes that “her inspiring teaching and her belief in me sent me on a career path that has given me opportunities I never dreamed I could have way back in 1962.”   


Fazio Family Aurora East Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship 

Realizing the importance of the arts and sciences to our society, Mr. and Mrs. Rich and Margie Fazio believe that education can be a great equalizer.  They believe that students of all backgrounds can attain amazing personal and professional goals with internal determination and a dedication to learning. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fazio have established this scholarship in honor of students who have dedicated themselves to learning their craft and who wish to pursue a career in the arts or sciences. 



Carol Thompson Aurora East Educational Foundation Excellence Scholarship 

In gratitude to East High School and to Dist. 131, Carol Thompson has established an Excellence Scholarship. 

Ms. Thompson attended Bardwell Elementary School, the old East Junior High School, and entered East High School when it was located on Jackson St.  She graduated in 1960 from the “new” East High as a member of the first class to attend that building for all three years. 

As a high school student, she remembered her teachers guiding her into extra-curricular activities which helped her in college and in later years.  She was on the debate team, attended speech contests, had roles in plays, and was Speculum yearbook editor as a senior.  With the help of several scholarships, she attended Knox College in Galesburg, IL. 

Ms. Thompson taught English at a high school in Alabama during the challenging early years of integration.  She became a social worker at the public welfare office, and eventually the director of the local county office.  Later, she was a Chief Juvenile Court Officer and was able to serve troubled children. 

Ms. Thompson believes that the education she received in the East Aurora Schools has shaped her whole life.  She further says that it’s the basis for whatever skills she earned over the years and also is the foundation of her moral and ethical life.  As a result, she learned how to seek out more knowledge and risk experiences that have enriched her life. 


Alderman Judd Lofchie AEEF Scholarship in Honor of Annette Johnson

Through the generosity of Aurora Alderman Judd Lofchie, the Aurora East Educational Foundation has established the Annette Johnson Scholarship. Ms. Johnson has served on the Dist. 131 Board of Education for many years and currently serves as its president.

Alderman Lofchie is an attorney and commercial realtor, and has lived and operated his business in Aurora for the last 25 years. He has served as an Aurora Alderman since 2017, and is currently running for Mayor of Aurora in the April 6th election.

Alderman Lofchie is a citizen committed to this community, as well as to Chicago and its entire suburban area.

He started Streetwise newspaper for the homeless in 1992 in Chicago which has helped 13,000 homeless people to get a job. He is a Rotarian, and serves on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He also serves as General Counsel for several service organizations.

Alderman Lofchie has been honored with several awards, notably the Compassion Foundation Award for Community Service, and Chicago Citizen of the Year for Streetwise.

The AEEF is proud to establish this scholarship, and is grateful to Alderman Lofchie for his generosity and for his many years of dedication to community service.


Dr. John Struck AEEF Scholarship

John Struck is one of the most well known and well liked administrators in the history of School Dist. 131. Through his generosity, the Aurora East Educational Foundation has established the Dr. John Struck Scholarship.

After graduating from Wisconsin State University—Oshkosh, Dr. Struck heroically served in the 25th Infantry Division in the US Army, including 13 months of service in Vietnam. He is a true American hero.

He began serving our district in 1972 as a science teacher at Simmons Middle School and, after earning his MS in Educational Leadership, advanced to become Dean of Students and later Principal at Simmons.

From 1984 until his retirement in 2005, Dr. Struck served in numerous central office positions, including Associate Superintendent for Educational Administration. Along the way, he earned his doctorate from NIU in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

From 1996-2005, he was an adjunct professor at Aurora University. After retiring from Dist. 131, he was a Faculty Research Fellow for one year, and then an Associate Professor in the Master’s Program at AU’s College of Education until 2015.

He has also served our community outside of the school district, notably as a Family Focus-Aurora Advisory Board chair and member since 1980.

The AEEF is grateful to Dr. Struck for his generosity and many years of service, and is proud to establish this scholarship in his honor.


Robert Davis AEEF Scholarship offered by Dr. Wayne Weiten

The Aurora East Educational Foundation has established the Robert Davis Scholarship through the generosity of Dr. Wayne Weiten. Mr. Davis was a math teacher at East High School in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Dr. Weiten, a 1968 East Aurora graduate, recently shared his memories of Mr. Davis and the effect he had left on his own academic development.

“Mr. Davis was a very supportive, but demanding instructor,” said Dr. Weiten. “He was the first person to actually get me to apply myself to math. I made the surprising discovery that I liked math and that I had a bit of a knack for it. That helped pave the way for ten or so statistics courses that I would eventually take in my undergraduate and graduate studies. I had courses with him in 1966-67 and 1967-68.”

Dr. Weiten used East Aurora academic preparations in his many advancements in higher education. He graduated from Bradley University and received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1981.

He has taught at the College of DuPage, Santa Clara University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the recipient of many teaching awards, attained memberships in several prestigious fellowships, and has conducted research on a wide range of topics. He has authored many college textbooks, having published 30+ editions of various psychology textbooks over the years.

The AEEF is proud to honor Mr. Robert Davis with this scholarship, and we are very proud to claim Dr. Weiten as one of our very successful Tomcats. We are grateful for his loyalty and generosity.


Terry L. Shoup AEEF Scholarship offered by Dr. Susan M Cooper

The Terry L Shoup Scholarship has been established by the Aurora East Educational Foundation through the generosity of Dr. Susan M Cooper, former teacher at East High School.

Terry was a teacher for 43 years, and served as a Physical Education teacher at East High from 1970-86. He also coached swimming and girls’ volleyball during that time.

Terry graduated from Bloomington, Illinois, High School, and participated in football, wrestling, and track. He was a four-year letterman in swimming at Illinois State University, where he received his BS degree in 1966 and MS degree in 1971.

He was an unforgettable teacher and coach, with a booming voice, a huge, deep laugh, and an intense personality. He always had a story and a joke for everyone he met. He was also a proud union member and organizer in Illinois and in California.

Terry experienced freedom and adventure while sailing, flying, motorcycling, scuba diving, and doing photography. He believed in fully living life every day. He passed away on Nov. 9, 2017, of cancer.

This vocational scholarship is funded in his memory for his love of learning and life. The AEEF is grateful for the generosity of Dr. Cooper, and is proud to honor the memory of Coach Shoup.


KCT Credit Union AEEF Scholarship

The KCT Credit Union Education Scholarship aligns with KCT’s mission of Building Stronger Communities Together. The Aurora East Educational Foundation and KCT both believe that education, whether academic or financial, has the power to transform lives.

Chartered in 1937, Kane County Teachers (KCT) Credit Union was formed through the efforts of Miss Martha Black, a teacher in the then Elgin Public School District, and Mr. E. Earl McCoy, then Kane County Superintendent of Schools. Since that day, KCT has been dedicated to living the credit union philosophy of people helping people. Originally, KCT was chartered to serve teachers of Kane County. Throughout the years, KCT has broadened its membership field to offer financial literacy resources and services to the surrounding counties. KCT Credit Union is your local community credit union and strives for excellence in serving its members and communities.

Helping People Live Better Lives Financially

KCT also believes in the principle of serving member-owners with financial literacy and education. KCT knows that financial health is just as important as physical health. This is why KCT advocates for its member-owners in times of economic turmoil, and why they have the ability to create individualized loan and savings products to meet their needs. To learn more about KCT Credit Union visit:


Delbert E. Dufrain AEEF Memorial Scholarship

The Aurora East Educational Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Delbert E. Dufrain Scholarship.

In the history of School Dist. 131, few names have become more synonymous with East Aurora High School than has the name of Coach Del Dufrain.

A native of Kankakee and a graduate of Western Illinois University, he arrived at East in 1961 as the new head football coach and biology teacher after working in another district. Many would agree that, when he arrived, East Aurora embarked on a journey of academic and football success that would become legendary.

Coach Dufrain soon became admired by students, athletes, and his many teaching and coaching colleagues. As much as for what he taught them, he inspired them just by who he was.

He was renowned for his calm demeanor and comportment as an educator. Beneath the calm persona, however, there burned a very competitive spirit. In his 18 years as head coach, his teams had great success. His 1976 squad made the state playoffs, and today is still the only East team to have ever won a playoff game.

Coach Dufrain was inducted into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984, and the East Aurora Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. As a well-regarded biology teacher, he was the Kane County Secondary Educator of the Year in 1978.

After his passing on November 25, 2020, Tom Madden spoke of his former teacher, coach, and colleague in a Chicago Tribune newspaper group story.

“Coach Dufrain showed us how to succeed in any walk of life,” said Madden. “He was so much more than a biology teacher and football coach.”

The AEEF is grateful to the Dufrain family—this Scholarship is made possible by multiple donations in Coach’s honor to our Foundation at their request, including a Facebook fundraiser by Mr Bill Suhayda to honor his former teacher and colleague and the East High Football Oldtimers Association.

The Delbert E. Dufrain Scholarship will help to keep alive the memory of this great man and educator.

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

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