Proviso East High School aviation and physics teacher Edward Beidas receives a ,000 reward from Soumya Rao of Common Roots Initiative at a scholarship banquet on June 7. (courtesy Soumya Rao)

The Proviso East alumni in charge of the Common Roots Initiative (CRI) Scholarship have doubled the amount they award to outstanding teachers at the school.

English teacher Ashley Glickman and science teacher Alexander Aschoff will both receive $1,000 from the organization for their classrooms.

CRI rewards “both sides of the desk,” based on donations from alumni. A college-bound PEHS senior will also be awarded $1,000.

Glickman makes her English classes relevant to students by trying to bring history alive. She’ll be using the funds to take her American Studies honor students on a field trip to Connor Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Ind. Students will have a chance to learn about the history of slavery in the United States by viewing a demonstration about the Underground Railroad.

Aschoff said he uses technology to improve student accountability. He told CRI he would use the funds to purchase a wireless PowerPoint presenter which will allow him to circulate around the classroom and keep them “on task.”

“It is my hope these upgrades to my classroom will further engage my students and help them learn more,” he said in a press release.

The fund’s founder and president, Soumya Rao, grew up in Forest Park and graduated from Proviso East in 1995. Rao lives in Bolingbrook and works as a client consultant for a health insurance company.

Rao gathered old friends from high school 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 Ashuman (Shay) Rao. The group’s members also include educator Mike Cavallo.

The application for the student scholarship can be found online at The deadline to submit the application and all materials is Feb. 1.

Jean Lotus

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...