College Scholarships

Illinois Boys State is proud to offer ten scholarships awarded annually totaling nearly $20,000 each year to Boys State participants. All scholarships are based upon merit achieved during the Boys State program, with the exception of the Samsung Scholarship as well as the essay and oration contests, which may be prepared ahead of time. While a citizen may receive more than one scholarship, no single citizen may receive cumulative awards of more than $5000 at the state level.

Samsung Scholarship - $1,250 Illinois Award, Eligible for two $10,000 Regional Awards and two $5,000 Regional Awards


Each Boys State and each Girls State across America selects one delegate each year as a national finalist for ten American Legion Scholarships. The Illinois winner is chosen on academic achievement and financial need from among applicants who have a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who served in our armed forces during times of war. Each state winner receives a $1,250 scholarship. From all of the Boys States in our region, two winners are each awarded $10,000 and two runners up are each awarded $5,000. National Boys State Scholarships are made possible from a scholarship endowment established by the Samsung Corporation, and the number of national scholarships may vary slightly based on the annual earnings from the endowment.

The application is to be completed online, including school transcript information. Applicants will need to create a temporary account on the national Legion website. A link to the application will be provided on the opening page of our website when it is available from National Headquarters.

Past Winners

2016 Alexander Shura (Naperville)
2015 Charles Massie (Manteno)
2014 Graham Novak (Naperville)
2013 Timothy Grote (Green Oaks)
2012 Borislav Shull (Belleville)
2011 Michael Holdsworth (Sherrard)
2010 James Konsky (Troy)
2009 Parry Draper (Scott AFB) – $21,000 National Winner
2008 Alexander Zaitzeff (Normal)
2007 Adam Sirgany (Stockton)
2006 Levi James DeSutter (Woodhull)
2005 William Holdsworth (Sherrard) – $21,000 National Winner
2004 Kelby Lanning (Alpha)
2003 Tome Holt (Woodhull) – $21,000 National Winner
2002 Kevin Smalley (Hampshire)
2001 Alexander Fenske (Richton Park)
2000 Brian Holt (Woohull)
1999 Matthew Kessler (Macomb)
1998 Matthew Zuber (Paris)
1997 Paul Krivickas (Lockport)
1996 Paul Wikoff (Oneida)

John Geiger Leadership Award - $2,000 Scholarship

The John Geiger Leadership Award is a $2,000 college scholarship funded by the American Legion, Department of Illinois, in honor of John H. Geiger, the first Boys State alum to serve as National Commander of the American Legion. The award winner is selected by a committee of Illinois Boys State Staff Counselors from among the following: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Nationalist Party State Chairman, and Federalist Party State Chairman.

Past Winners

2016 Doug McKissick (Naperville)
2015 Andrew Cummings (Hinsdale)
2014 Nicholas Turk (O’Fallon)
2013 TJ Collins (Gurnee)
2012 Cole Board (Hume)
2011 Michael Kahovec (Bolingbrook)
2010 Colin Danly (Lake Forest)

James R. Thompson Governor’s Award - $2,000 Scholarship

The James R. Thompson Medal and $2,000 scholarship was established in 1990 in honor of the 39th Governor of Illinois upon his retirement. It is awarded annually to the Governor of Boys State.

Past Winners

2016 Kevin Mallady (Danville)
2015 Kyle Robinson (Urbana)
2014 Cedric Jones (Champaign)
2013 Patrick Bell (Canton)
2012 Brad Basala (Matherville)
2011 Cornelius Allen (Belleville)
2010 Garren Randolph (Monmouth)
2009 Brian Elliott (Macomb)
2008 Jacob Becraft (Metamora)
2007 Adam Skierkiewicz-Chovan (Mokena)
2006 Darius McCray (Chicago)
2005 Josh Boykin (Rockford)
2004 William Thorndike (Morrison)
2003 Curt Rendall (Winthrop Harbor)
2002 David Wiest (Mapleton)
2001 Kevin Maliszewski (Glen Carbon)
2000 Christopher Hightower (Danville)
1999 John Feeney (Monticello)
1998 Langston Hughes (Waukegan)
1997 Frank James Harts, III (Rock Falls)
1996 Sean Stephenson (LaGrange)

The Paul Brown State Officer Award - $2,000 Scholarship

The Paul Brown State Officer Award is a $2,000 college scholarship award selected by a committee of Illinois Boys State Staff members from among the following elected State officials: Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller and State Treasurer. Selection will be based on observation of the elected officials campaign speeches and other campaign activities, as well as an interview process.

2016 Kuzivakwashe Zhou (Peoria)
2015 Vishnoo Vivekananthan (Elgin)

Wayne Saxton/George Madden Boys Nation Awards - $2,000 Scholarships

The Wayne Saxton Award and George Madden Award are $2,000 scholarships awarded to each of the two delegate citizens to attend Boys Nation. Interviewees will include but are not limited to, the winners of the following: John Geiger Leadership Award, James R. Thompson Governor’s Award, Paul Brown State Officer Award, Joseph McCraith Model Citizen Award, and the Keith Lucas Model Citizen Award.

Past Winners

2016 Kuzivakwashe Zhou (Peoria)/Russell McCormic (Bloomington)
2015 Andrew Cummings (Hinsdale)/TJ Kilcullen (Lindenhurst)
2014 Nicholas Turk (O’Fallon)/James Kellock (Peoria Heights)
2013 TJ Collins (Gurnee)/Saumya Jain (Naperville)
2012 Ian Fleming (Mundelein)/Joseph Aumuller (Libertyville)
2011 Payton Head (Richton Park)/Kevin Heller (Libertyville)
2010 Colin Danly (Lake Forest)/Garren Randolph (Monmouth
2009 Brad Elliott (Macomb)/Kyle Newhouse (Wheaton)
2008 Trevor Paul (Godfrey)/Kevin Dore (Naperville)
2007 Adam Skierkiewicz-Chovan (Mokena)/Maurice Martin (Westchester)
2006 Parker Happ (Woodstock)/Jonathon McDonnell (Lynn Center)
2005 Yashua Bhatti (Rantoul)/Josh Boykin (Rockford)
2004 Timothy Newlin, Jr. (Peoria)/Brody Walworth (Mattoon)
2003 Aaron Mowery (Libertyville)/Gill Harmon (Bartonville)
2002 Eric England (West Union)/Vincent Razionale (Brookfield)
2001 Peter Kurinsky (Park Ridge)/Kevin Maliszewski (Glen Carbon)
2000 Christopher Connelly (Glen Ellyn)/Omar Yunus (Washington)
1999 William Heerman (Park Ridge)/John Feeney (Monticello)
1998 Matthew Zuber (Paris)/Langston Hughes (Waukegan)
1997 Robert W. Whipple (Lake Forest)/Ankit Mahadevia (Naperville)
1996 Sean Stephenson (LaGrange)/Musab Balbale (Wheaton)

The Joseph McCraith Model Citizen Award (Staff Selection) - $2,000 Scholarship

The Joseph McCraith Model Citizen $2,000 scholarship winner is selected by a committee of Staff counselors from candidates, one from each county, selected by the counselors of each county.

Past Winners

2016 Chailuv Gidwani (Naperville)
2015 TJ Kilcullen (Lindenhurst)
2014 Nicholas Turk (O’Fallon)
2013 Saumya Jain (Naperville)
2012 Ian Fleming (Mundelein)
2011 Michael Kahovec (Bolingbrook)
2010 Joey Kim (Naperville)
2009 Alexander Williams (Mahomet)
2008 John Tienken (Clarendon Hills)
2007 Jordan Liles (Lena)
2006 Parker Happ (Woodstock)
2005 Yashua Bhatti (Rantoul)
2004 Timothy Newlin, Jr. (Peoria)
2003 Aaron Mowery (Libertyville)
2002 Eric Englend (West Union)
2001 Peter Kurinsky (Park Ridge)
2000 Christopher Connnelly (Glen Ellyn)
1999 Eric Hachikian (Lake Forest)
1998 Jonathan Budzik (Winthrop Harbor)
1997 Robert W. Whipple (Lake Forest)
1996 Brett Smiley (Glenview)

Model Citizen Award (Citizen Selection) - $2,000 Scholarship

The Keith S. Lucas Model Citizen $2,000 scholarship is presented annually for the best exhibition of sportsmanship by a citizen. One nominee is chosen per county by the citizens of that county. Each nominee is interviewed by the Illinois Boys State administrative staff, from which a winner is chosen.

Past Winners

2016 Mario Giannini (Grayslake)
2015 Jordan Pless (Ransom)
2014 Uriel Espinoza (Genoa)
2013 Mark Noftz (Villa Park)
2012 Joseph Aumuller (Libertyville)
2011 Kevin Heller (Libertyville)
2010 not awarded
2009 Brad Miller (North Chicago)
2008 Trevor Paul (Godfrey)
2007 Graham Farnsworth (Wheaton)
2006 Justin Williams (Maywood)
2005 David Barhausen (Lake Bluff)
2004 Brody Walworth (Mattoon)
2003 Gil Harmon (Bartonville)
2002 Thomas Kruse (St. Charles)
2001 David Moore (Arcola)
2000 T. J. Menn (Plymouth)
1999 Arthur Kavaliauskas (LaGrange)
1998 James Harrington (Green Oaks)
1997 Travis Wendt (Urbana)
1996 Brian Sims (Waukegan)

Hayes Kennedy Essay Contest - $2,000 Scholarship

The Hayes Kennedy Scholarship is a scholarship awarded annually to the citizen who presents the best original essay on a selected topic related to the Constitution of the United States or the Illinois Constitution. The winner of the Hayes Kennedy Essay Contest will receive the Hayes Kennedy Scholarship named in honor of Hayes Kennedy, an attorney, and one of the co-founders of Illinois Boys State.

The essay must be over 500 words, but should not exceed 1000 words, in length. It is important that essays are written in good literary style, properly paragraphed, punctuated, etc. All contestants are required to submit their essay electronically. Procedures for this will be provided during the session.

Past Winners

2016 Rohan Macherla (Plainfield)
2015 TJ Kilcullen (Lindenhurst)
2014 Nicholas Billeter (Quincy)
2013 Matthew Livingston (Naperville)
2012 Sahum Patel (Tinley Park)
2011 William Oakley (Lake Forest)
2010 Nathan McNichols (Metropolis)
2009 Daniel Ricci (Bartlett)
2008 William Barkhausen (Lake Bluff)
2007 Stephen Hofmann (Kildeer)
2006 Thomas Pruett (Pocahontas)
2005 Mark Aguire (Plainfield)
2004 John Braun (Washington)
2003 Gerry Sapienza (Gurnee)
2002 Christopher Knapp (West Peoria)
2001 Jason Starr (Libertyville)
2000 Matthew Diller (Bloomington)
1999 James Stevens (Arthur)
1998 Jonathan Budzik (Winthrop Harbor)
1997 Brett Garrett (Lake Forest)
1996 Markus Nystrom (Lake Forest)

Oration Contest - $2,000 Scholarship

The Oration Scholarship is a $2,000 scholarship awarded annually to the citizen who prepares the best original four to six minute oration on a selected topic about Abraham Lincoln. The specific topic for this year can be found on the Activities page of the website.

After a preliminary round of presentations, ten finalists will be selected to deliver their orations before qualified judges. The final decision will be based on the customary oratorical contest points of content, organization, and delivery.

Contestant must understand that the contest is for original orations only and that the customary rules of such contests which limit direct quotations to fifty words at one time will be enforced.

Contestants are free to use notes during their presentation; however, electronic devices may not be used during your presentation.

Past Winners

2016 Alexander Shura (Naperville)
2015 TJ Kilcullen (Lindenhurst)
2014 John Lampros (Wheaton)
2013 Steven Harrison (Naperville)
2012 Caleb Hill (Island Lake)
2011 Bradley Disbrow (Wheaton)
2010 Tyson Dethlefsen (Lake Forest)
2009 John Carroll (Peoria)
2008 John Tienken (Clarendon Hills)
2007 Kevin King (Batavia)
2006 Benjamin Leddy (Charleston)
2005 Luke Adams (North Pekin)
2004 Eric Johnson (Park Ridge)
2003 Steve Donner (Troy)
2002 Eric Malmquist (Morris)
2001 Ricky Staub (Wheaton)
2000 Chirstopher Connelly (Glen Ellyn)
1999 Michael Macaluso (Oak Brook)
1998 Mike Hutchinson (Peoria)
1997 Kevin Thomas (Sparta)
1996 Steve Chumbely (Ludlow)