Pictured here are the Monticello High School Illinois State Scholars for 2019.

Monticello High School Principal, Adam Clapp, is pleased to announce that 24 Monticello High School students from the graduating class of 2019 have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state agency committed to helping to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois families, confers this prestigious recognition to top Illinois high school students annually. This year, more than 21,000 outstanding honorees join the other top students who have been honored for their academic achievements since the designation was first introduced in 1958.

Illinois State Scholars represent approximately the top ten percent of high school seniors from 757 high schools across the state. Illinois State Scholars possess strong academic potential and are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

"Being named as an Illinois State Scholar is a prestigious honor. At Monticello High School, we pride ourselves in setting high expectations for our students, and our students often exceed these expectations. Our students have done an outstanding job, and these recipients deserve this recognition. Congratulations to all Illinois State Scholars," said Adam Clapp, Monticello High School principal.


Local recipients

Among those named as Illinois State Scholars are:

Blue Ridge High School – Cody Phillips

Bement High School – Ryan Stoerger, Taylor Wright

Cerro Gordo High School – Vanessa Gower, Jacob Hayes, Joshua Stump

Monticello High School – Kenneth Alexander, Lily Brown, Cansas Buckalew, Kaleena Davis, Garrett Dixon, Robert Flesher, Brandon Gilliland, Audra Heistand, Isabella Jebe, Ethan Johns, Abigail King, Renee King, Jonathan Koon, Katie LeJeune, Lauren Mitchell, Sophie Morrison, Payne Nowlin, Preston Nowlin, Josiah Ratts, Margaret Schlabach, Nicole Sheafe, Payton Tackett, Skylar Wileaver, Natalie Wilkin, Nicholas Wilkin.

"In this 60th year of the Illinois State Scholar Program, we are proud to announce another class of outstanding students that will lead us into the future," said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC. "We congratulate these Scholars on their hard work and accomplishments. Congratulations also and thank you to the families, principals, teachers, counselors, coaches, mentors, and all of the other individuals who not only help our students find the path that will allow them to flourish, but also support them every step of the way."

While the State Scholar recognition does not include a monetary prize, honorees will receive a congratulatory letter from ISAC and personalized Certificates of Achievement. This year, State Scholars will also receive a digital Illinois State Scholar badge, which can be displayed on their online profiles and social media accounts, and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others.

All students, including State Scholars, who plan to be enrolled in college next fall are urged to complete their 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible in order to determine eligibility for federal and state financial aid. ISAC offers free financial aid and college access events to assist students and families with the college-going process. Students can also visit the ISAC Student Portal for college planning, financial aid and financial literacy information and free tools, as well as information on how to contact the ISACorps, a group of recent college graduates who act as near-peer mentors, for one-on-one assistance and mentoring.

Students can also get answers to their college-going and financial aid questions sent directly to their phones by signing up for ISAC College Q&A,, ISAC’s free text messaging service. ISAC also offers assistance through the agency call center, 1-800-899-4722 (ISAC). Visit the ISAC Student Portal for more information at

ISAC provides comprehensive, objective, and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families - giving them access to the tools they need to make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers, ISAC can help students make those choices a reality. Find us at and follow us on Facebook (@ILStudentAssistance), Twitter and on Instagram @ISACfinaid.