Karen GJ Lewis Scholarship
The Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation are pleased to announce David Juan Crain as the recipient of the Karen GJ Lewis NBCT Scholarship Award, a $10,000 annual scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year.
David is a graduate of Multicultural Arts High School and is enrolled in the Teacher Preparation program at Illinois State University. Through his essay submissions, David explained his plans to return to the West side of Chicago to teach, understanding the potential community impact of a Black/Latinx male teacher. In his application, David demonstrated his passion for social justice by having difficult conversations with his biracial family in the volatile time following the murder of George Floyd. In navigating the pitfalls of colorism and prejudice that exist for him as an Afro-Latino man, David expressed his desire to be seen for all he is and to help others embrace all parts of themselves without shame or fear in his future role as an educator.
“I refuse to see myself as a victim of society’s racial oppression. I will not allow institutional racism to continue to feel empowered and unchallenged, therefore I am choosing to become an Educator. I have come to realize that to make a change in society we need to empower Black and Brown communities to exercise the political power that we have.” – David Crain
We are confident Karen would be very proud to hear of David Crain’s perseverance and steadfastness as a future education leader in Chicago!
In addition to the financial support, Walter Taylor, Director of Professional Development, will provide academic and socio-emotional support to David as a mentor while our scholarship recipient is in college, to help him achieve his goal of becoming a teacher. One of our goals as a Foundation is to provide a mentor to the winner each year to do our part to retain more Black teachers in the profession. We plan to offer the other applicants, as well as David Crain, access to three (3) free Quest Center classes once they become CPS teachers and CTU members.
To honor Karen GJ Lewis’s immense contributions to labor, education, social justice and community engagement, the Children & Teachers Foundation of the Chicago Teachers Union will award a $10,000 annual scholarship to promote and encourage the next generation of Black leaders in Chicago’s public education system.
Scholarship Eligibility Requirements
- Applicants must be US citizens, or meet the “undocumented students” criteria of the RISE Act and identify as Black/African American.
- Applicants must be accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis as an undergraduate in a teacher preparation program, or alternative licensure program, at an accredited not-for-profit, public or private American college or university, which, upon completion, qualifies the applicant to be licensed as a school teacher by the Illinois State Board of Education.
- Applicants must be enrolled as a CPS student in the academic year of 2021-22 or must be an adult going back to college to become a teacher.
- Applicants must:
- demonstrate Financial Need by having applied for FAFSA financial aid through the US Dept. of Education (FAFSA.gov), and/or
- provide a copy of their Student Aid Report (SAR), or
- provide their college or university’s Needs Analysis, or
- provide a statement of financial need indicating why the scholarship is needed to overcome financial obstacles in gaining access to higher education.
How to Apply
The application window is now closed.
For more details, please review the scholarship application overview and form.
Karen GJ Lewis, National Board Certified Teacher, was elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010, and, through her bold leadership, changed the narrative around public education in Chicago and the United States. During her tenure, the CTU created a model for union organizing and the fight for education justice, and built strong and lasting relationships with parents and community organizations across the city.
Under Karen’s dynamic vision, Chicago Public School educators launched the city’s first strike in more than 25 years, after which teachers returned to classrooms not only with fair wages, but a new path centered on social justice unionism and increased engagement of rank-and-file members. A longtime high school chemistry teacher, wife of a CPS teacher and coach, and daughter of two CPS educators, Karen and her team also fought to end school privatization and the influence of high-stakes, standardized testing; empowered educators to take on positions in city and state leadership; amplified support for professional learning and teacher leadership; and reactivated the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation and Children & Teachers Foundation.