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CATA Awards Carol Cooling Scholarship to John Hersey High School Student

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) presented the second annual Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship – a $1,000 grant – to John Hersey High School graduating senior Marissa Leff during a recent student assembly. The CATA established the Carol Cooling Scholarship in 2014 to honor John Hersey High School alum and long-time NBC Chicago Special Events Director Carol Cooling, who passed away two years ago following a battle with cancer. Leff was selected for the grant due to her student leadership roles and significant involvement in school activities.

“We started the Carol Cooling Scholarship last year to not only honor this amazing woman, but as another outlet for her spirit to live on in a way we believe she would’ve admired,” said CATA Chairman Colin Wickstrom. “Everybody knew Carol; she lit up any room. We were fortunate to have known her, and our hope is that her legacy can live on through this scholarship.” 

The CATA, producer of the Chicago Auto Show, worked closely with Cooling year-round but predominantly surrounding the show period to coordinate NBC’s live Chicago Auto Show TV special. Cooling was the strong foundation to a successful partnership that led to multiple Emmy wins for the Chicago Auto Show TV special.

“Carol Cooling was someone who made the places she went a better place, and I feel honored to exemplify her characteristics,” said scholarship recipient Marissa Leff. “With the help and generosity of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, I am able to go on to college to make the world a better place as Carol did.” 

John Hersey High School personnel were also honored to have selected Marissa Leff selected as the recipient of the second annual Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship. 

“Carol was someone who made a positive impact on those around her, and Marissa certainly embodies this trait,” said John Hersey High School Assistant Principal John Novak. “An honors student, Marissa also excelled in the area of Fine Arts, where she was the glue to several of our performing groups. She certainly goes out of her way to make sure that her peers have a memorable experience in all that they do. We are thankful that the Chicago Automobile Trade Association continues to honor a Hersey student in honor of Carol.”

John Hersey High School students will have the chance to apply for the Carol Cooling Scholarship again next year. The CATA will fund the scholarship for a total of 10 years.