Brother Rice High School is pleased to announce that 27 Brother Rice students from the graduating Class of 2020 have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars. 

On average, approximately 10% of graduates from approved high schools are announced as Illinois State Scholars each year. This year, Brother Rice boasts 19% of the students from the Class of 2020 as Illinois State Scholars, and is proud to once again have the most boys named State Scholars from Catholic High Schools on the Southside. 

These students possess strong academic potential and are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.

Congratulations to the Brother Rice 2019-20 Illinois State Scholars: Henry J. Barsch (St. Barnabas), Benjamin J. Blahusiak (Our Lady Of The Ridge), Tyler D. Colander (St. Linus), Nathan T. Cook (Mount Greenwood), Thomas J. Crane (Most Holy Redeemer), Declan H. Docherty (Queen Of Martyrs), John R. Dolan (St. Barnabas), John M. Eastman (St. John Fisher), Kenneth A. Foyle III (Our Lady Of The Ridge), Owen P. Greybill (Trinity Lutheran), Sean G. Joyce (St Christina), Michael W. Kinnerk (Mount Greenwood), Ryan J. Kopale (St. John Fisher), Alexander G. MacFarlane (Homeschooled), Martin J. Murray (Queen Of Martyrs), Michael P. Nelligan (St. John Fisher), William S. O’Hara (Most Holy Redeemer), Luke A. Onoroto (Mount Greenwood), Laurence W. Pavlik (St. Gerald), Kevin G. Phelan (St. Catherine of Alexandria), Ryan O. Rice (Queen Of Martyrs), Dylan W. Robertson (St. Joan of Arc), Liam D. Sheehan (St. Catherine of Alexandria), Joseph P. Sullivan (St. Germaine), Kevin E. Tracy (St. Germaine), Steven D. Walczak (St. Gerald), Jeremy J. Zemgulys (Sutherland).

We are so proud of our Illinois State Scholars for their exceptional academic achievement!


From the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC):

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state agency committed to helping make college accessible and affordable for Illinois families, confers this prestigious recognition to top Illinois high school students annually. This year, more than 17,500 honorees join the other top students who have been honored for their academic achievements since the designation was first introduced in 1958.

This year, ISAC is celebrating all State Scholars with two videos ( that highlight some of the state’s exceptional students.

“On behalf of ISAC, we congratulate the 2020-21 Illinois States Scholars,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC. “I’m consistently impressed with the passion, focus, organization, and dedication of our State Scholars. It is a credit to these students–as well as to their support systems and to our schools–that so many of them are not only driven to achieve but also reflect a true love of learning and a desire to use their education to make the world a better place.”

While the State Scholar recognition does not include a monetary prize, honorees will receive a congratulatory letter from ISAC and a personalized Certificate of Achievement. Honorees can also download a digital Illinois State Scholar badge that can be displayed on their online profiles and social media platforms, and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others.  A complete list of the 2020-21 Illinois State Scholars ( can be found on ISAC’s website. Note that the Program announces honorees based on the year they would begin any postsecondary education, not based on the year they graduate from high school.

All students, including State Scholars, are encouraged to complete their 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) as soon as possible.  The FAFSA is used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal and most state and institutional financial aid available for postsecondary education, including two- or four-year degree programs, certificates, and vocational education.

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 and provide 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. In addition, ISAC offers assistance through the agency’s call center, 1-800-899-4722 (ISAC).