Sixteen recognized by 21st Century Scholars Society


Tiernan Ebener of Peru was named 21st Century Scholar at the eighth annual 21st Century Scholars Society dinner Thursday at Deer Park Country Club. Ebener will receive $3,500 for tuition, fees, books and expenses.

Ebener will transfer next fall to study chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. He is an IVCC Student Ambassador, Chem Club President and one of the Phi Theta Kappa vice presidents.

A 3.95 GPA student, Ebener is also President of the Student Government Association. For his Chemistry II project, he extracted oil from algae and turned the oil into biodiesel. One of Ebener’s mentors, retired La Salle-Peru High School physics instructor Peter Navin, attended the ceremony.

Outside IVCC, the son of Dave and Jane Ebener volunteers for Special Olympics, the Food Pantry and delivers food to the Peru homeless shelter PADS. He’s also a senior lifeguard at the Illinois Valley YMCA.

Finalists receiving $2,500 each are: Whitley Funfsinn of La Salle, nursing; Camrie Maxon of Ottawa, mechanical engineering; Aubrey Molln of La Moille, agricultural engineering; and Danae Ross of rural Princeton, dentistry.

Funfsinn, a graduate of St. Bede Academy and the daughter of Cindy of La Salle and Dale of La Salle, plans to transfer to the University of Missouri next fall. The 4.0 GPA student hopes to work in neonatal care.

Maxon, who was homeschooled, is the daughter of Janet and Don and will transfer next fall to Olivet Nazarene University. Also a 4.0 student, she enrolled in IVCC at the age of 14, the same year she won the Level 6 State all-around gymnastics and beam championships. She’s performed missionary work in impoverished mountaintop villages in Mexico and through Compassion International helps pay for a Bolivian child to be fed and educated.

Molln, another 4.0 student, was the La Moille High School valedictorian, FFA President and student council vice president. The daughter of Richard and Theresa Molln is undecided on her transfer university. A three-sport star at La Moille, Molln has a list of volunteer experiences and community works stretching five pages.

Ross, the daughter of David and Kendra, is a former Bureau Valley High School valedictorian, class president, volleyball MVP and achieved perfect attendance over four years at the school. A 3.93 GPA student at IVCC, she is considering the University of Illinois among other schools. Her volunteer works include serving food at a shelter and church, packing boxes for Samaritan’s Purse and working blood drives.

Honorable mention selections, each receiving $1,000, are Cody Bornemann of Granville, physical therapy; Cassandra DeGuido of Streator, elementary education; Moriah Feagin of Peru, social work; Carly Haywood of Ottawa, zoology; Trenton Lipka of Peru, math; Andrea Neff of La Salle, journalism; Amber Phillips of Peru, pharmacology; Kaleb Pytel of La Salle, physical therapy; Amy Rogowski of La Salle, social work; Kaylee Sienza of Oglesby, speech pathology; and Madyson Toynton of Marseilles, elementary education.

Overall, the Society awarded nearly $25,000 to 16 students. Currently made up of 29 members each contributing $500 annually, the IVCC Foundation-sponsored initiative rewards IVCC’s most promising second-year students. To qualify, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 as well as extensive college involvement and community service.

New members welcomed into the society were Aziz and Wendy Asphahani of Ottawa, Steve and Laurie Bonucci of Princeton and Lou and Fran Borio of Peru. For information on joining the society, call Fran Brolley at (815) 224-0466.