CHICAGO (May 19, 2021) - Today the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), the area's new-car dealer association, presented the 2021 Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship to John Hersey High School senior Emily Seriruk. The CATA established the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship-a $1,000 grant-to honor Carol Cooling, a Hersey alumna and long-time NBC 5 Chicago Special Events Director who died in 2013 following a battle with cancer.
As the producer of the Chicago Auto Show, the CATA worked closely with Cooling and NBC 5 to help facilitate the station's live TV auto show specials that garnered several Emmy Awards. When Cooling died, CATA leadership wanted to contribute to a cause that would enable her spirit to live on.
"At the time of Carol's passing, CATA Chairman John Webb had the idea to create this wonderful scholarship as a way to pay tribute to such an impactful, larger-than-life person," said David Sloan, president of the CATA and general manager of the Chicago Auto Show. "I continue to feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to present this scholarship to deserving Hersey High School students, and I am certain Carol would be touched to see her legacy live on in such an influential and positive way."
The Hersey High School scholarship committee selected Seriruk as the recipient of the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship because she embodies many of the characteristics also used to describe Cooling. Attributions such as "driven, ambitious and resilient" are commonly used by Seriruk's teachers and peers.
"Taking the words from Emily's English teacher, Kyle Marquette, 'Emily is a fighter,'" said Hersey Assistant Principal John Novak. "She does not back down from challenges, but rather uses them as motivation to continually better herself."
According to Novak, Seriruk has proven the ability to balance a rigorous academic schedule with her involvement in the peer tutoring program Service Over Self, the Asian American culture club, the math team and the badminton team.
"As if these activities weren't enough to fill her time, Emily also held a part-time job outside of school," said Novak. "Her determination and can-do attitude are what set her apart from other scholarship candidates."
Novak commented that "Emily truly embodies the characteristics of the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship. She treats people with respect and has the ability to make a positive impact on those around her. We are thankful to the Chicago Automobile Trade Association for honoring such a deserving young adult in Carol Cooling's memory."
Seriruk will graduate from Hersey High School this month and attend the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) this fall where she plans to study chemical engineering. Seriruk will apply her scholarship to help pay for her UIC tuition where she looks forward to gaining the necessary knowledge and skills needed to become a chemical engineer.
"I've heard that Carol Cooling radiated positivity and made a great impact on everyone in her life, and I strive to do that as well, whether it's from simply tutoring my peers or planning to improve people's lives through solving real-world problems as a chemical engineer," said Seriruk. "I believe I met the requirements of the scholarship because I am driven to work hard to achieve my goals, including maintaining a 4.73 GPA and financially helping my mom from a young age."
"I am beyond grateful to have received this scholarship, and I can't even begin to explain how much it means to me," Seriruk continued. "I really wish I could have met Carol Cooling as she exemplified the type of person I strive to be. Her accomplishments demonstrated her passion and hard work that result in achieving great things. I am honored to carry on her legacy by graciously taking this scholarship and applying it to my own education to pursue a career where I hope to make a positive difference in the lives of others."
Hersey High School students will have the chance to apply for the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship again next year.
To learn more about the CATA, please visit www.cata.info.