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Among the more than 17,500 high school seniors in Illinois who were recently named 2020-21 Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission were 10 from Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School and 11 from Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has conferred the prestigious recognition to top Illinois high school students annually since 1958. Illinois State Scholars represent the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 726 high schools across the state. They are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth-semester class rank.

PBL High School seniors selected for the honor were: Michael Acosta, Dalton Busboom, Benjamin Busby, Luke Cowan, Lucy Galey, Kirsten Jensen, Morgan Schroeder, Emma Schuler, Gracie Smith and Anna Wolken.

GCMS High School seniors selected for the honor were: Ethan Freehill, Hannah Hathaway, Spencer Hazen, Sierra Hileman, Daniel Jones, Payton Kean, Keegan Kutemeier, Olivia Overman, Summer Roesch, Madelyn Schutte and Rylee Tompkins.

“I’m consistently impressed with the passion, focus, organization and dedication of our State Scholars,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. “It is a credit to these students, as well as to their support systems and to our schools, that so many of them are not only driven to achieve but also reflect a true love of learning and a desire to use their education to make the world a better place.”

While the Illinois State Scholar recognition does not include a monetary prize, honorees receive a congratulatory letter from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and a personalized certificate of achievement. Honorees can also download a digital Illinois State Scholar badge that can be displayed on their online profiles and social media platforms and can be shared with school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others.