The State Farm Holiday Classic has selected four winners as recipients of the 2022 Holiday Classic Scholarship award. The Classic Tournament, Inc., which organizes one of the largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments in the nation, will award each winner a $1,500 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 the previous year’s (2021) tournament, a selection committee of current and former educators 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 2022 Holiday Classic Scholarship awards go to (in alphabetical order by last name):
- Megan Arnold, Rochester High School – Megan participated in basketball, golf and soccer for the Rockets, being named academic all-conference three different times. She finished with a 4.828 GPA which ranked 2nd in her senior class. Among her many volunteer duties included being a math tutor, an early childhood classroom assistant at Hope Church, a Sangamon County Election Judge and placing wreaths at Camp Butler Cemetery in Springfield for Wreaths Across America. Megan plans to attend Illinois State University, majoring in Education with a plan to become a math teacher.
- Jordyn Cannon, El Paso-Gridley High School – Jordyn was a two-sport student athlete for the Titans, playing both basketball and volleyball. Among her many athletic accomplishments were being named all-conference in both sports, and led her teams in assists, steals, defense, scoring, serving percentage, digs and service points. She was a member of the Writin’ Titan Tutoring program, made morning announcements every day at EPG, and volunteered for Midwest Food Bank and Kiwanis. Jordyn plans to attend Illinois College and major in Nursing.
- Tyler Dwinal, Normal Community High School – Tyler was a two-sport student-athlete for the Ironmen, competing in basketball and football all four years. He was named academic all-conference three years and finished with a 5.3 GPA. As a patched IHSA official, he umpired baseball games each summer. He also volunteered for his vacation bible school, Toys for Tots and Iron for Hire assisting those in need in the community. Tyler plans to attend the University of Iowa and major in Mechanical Engineering.
- Matthew Wingate, Normal Calvary Christian Academy – Matthew was a four-sport standout for the Knights, playing baseball, basketball, golf and soccer. He was named all-conference in basketball all four seasons, and once in soccer. He volunteered for a number of community projects, helping to cleanup Constitution Trail in Bloomington-Normal and deliver gift bags to local nursing homes. He also worked on the golf course at Bloomington Country Club during the summers. Matthew plans to attend Olivet Nazarene University and major in Marketing.
“We were so glad to once again host a tournament this past year for our players, coaches, volunteers and fans,” said Holiday Classic Scholarship committee coordinator Dan Highland. “And we are just as pleased to honor these four student-athletes who stood above a group of 35 applicants based on their involvement in academics, athletics and their communities.”
The Holiday Classic Scholarship fund is administered through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation in Bloomington, and scholarship payments are made directly to the attending college/university of the winning student-athletes.
This is the 17th consecutive year the tournament has offered this scholarship program, which has now awarded a grand total of $79,000 in scholarships.
The 2022 State Farm Holiday Classic is scheduled for Dec. 27, 28, 29 and 30. This year the committee will organize their 43rd boys tournament (started in 1975) and their 25th girls tournament (started in 1997).
For more information about the tournament and a complete list of participating teams, visit the official web site at www.theclassic.org.