A group of Proviso Township High School alumni has created a scholarship fund for Proviso High School District 209 students and Proviso area teachers. The Common Roots Initiative (CRI), a 501(c)(3) organization, will award a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior attending a trade school, junior college or university this fall.

They will also award $1,000 to a Proviso Township teacher to provide resources “on both sides of the desk,” said the fund’s founder and president, Soumya Rao, who grew up in Forest Park and graduated from Proviso East in 1995.

“My parents were blue-collar workers, and my siblings and I were all close in age. It was difficult to pay for college,” she says.

Rao now lives in Bolingbrook and works as a client consultant for a health insurance company.

Rao collared old friends from high school, a brother and a former teacher to create the organization. Other CRI board members who graduated from Proviso East in the mid-1990s include Kesha Green, Jonathon Bus, Jennifer Cassell and her, brother Ashuman (Shay) Rao.

Teachers and students can apply for the scholarship at www.common-roots.org. The deadline is Friday, March 2, but Rao says if a time extension is needed, applicants can email info@common-roots.org.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...