The Classic Tournament, Inc., which organizes one of the largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments in the nation called the State Farm Holiday Classic, has selected four winners as recipients of the 2015 Holiday Classic Scholarship award. Each of the winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship to go directly to their college of choice for tuition costs.
Established to recognize and award scholarships to eligible high school seniors who participated in this past year’s tournament, a selection committee of former educators and scholarship recipients chose the winners based on leadership skills and academic performance.
Applicants were also asked to demonstrate their experiences in student activities and community service, and required to submit an essay titled “How my high school sports experience helped prepare me for success in higher education.”
The 2015 Holiday Classic Scholarship awards go to (in alphabetical order):
- Nicholas Patkunas, Normal University – Nick is a three-sport student-athlete at U-High, playing basketball, baseball
and football. He is also a member of the Science Club, and volunteers for the Miracle League, the Rotary Interact
Dodgeball Tournament and Americas Walk for Diabetes. Nick plans to attend North Central College in Naperville where
he intends to major in Sports Management.
- Carolyn Peters, Normal West – Carolyn played both basketball and soccer all four years at West, receiving several allconference
recognitions. She is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Key Club and the National Honor
Society and has volunteered for Home Sweet Home Ministries and the Brotherhood Tree. Carolyn plans to major in
Biochemistry at Iowa, Michigan State or Wisconsin.
- Karalee White, LeRoy – Karalee is a three-sport student-athlete for the Panthers, playing basketball, softball and
volleyball all four years. She has participated in Student Council, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National
Honor Society. She volunteers for Special Olympics and the American Red Cross, and plans to major in Pre-Medicine at
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Olivet Nazarene or Eureka College.
- Nathaniel Wieting, Rockford Lutheran – Nate has participated in four sports for the Crusaders, starring in basketball,
football, track & field and volleyball. He was named IBCA All-State in basketball and Academic All-State in football. Nate
is active in Student Council and Student Body Government, and has volunteered for the Rockford Park District and
Adopt-A-Family. He plans to major in Biochemistry at Iowa or Missouri.
“We have honored many fine student-athletes in the past, and this year’s group of recipients is no exception,” said tournament
Manager of Student-Athlete Recognition, Derek Sieg. “Each year is a tough process for our selection committee due to the many
outstanding applicants, but these four student-athletes stood above the rest based on their involvement in school, athletics and
The Holiday Classic Scholarship fund is administered through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation in Bloomington, IL, and
scholarship payments are made directly to the attending college/university of the winning students. One winner from each of the
four tournament brackets (Small School Boys, Small School Girls, Large School Boys and Large School Girls) is awarded a
scholarship each year.
This is the tenth consecutive year the tournament has offered the Holiday Classic Scholarship program which has now awarded a
grand total of $40,000 in scholarships.