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2020 Fike Scholarship

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The McHenry County Historical Society has established an annual $1,000 college scholarship to honor its former administrator, Nancy Fike. 

For more than 40 years, Fike demonstrated her love for McHenry County and its history. Her attention to education and historic accuracy can be observed in the programs, museum, research library, and buildings now owned and maintained by the Society.

The Nancy Fike Scholarship is presented each year to a graduating senior from a McHenry County high school who plans to study education, history or the social sciences.  The financial award will be given on behalf of the student to his or her chosen college or university.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, provide two letters of recommendation as specified in the application, show proof of community service and write a minimum 500 word essay pertaining to McHenry County. Essay topics will be announced each year by the Society. This year's topic marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 1970..

Submit your documents online, or download this PDF and mail your documents.

Potential resources:
• Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, Woodstock.
(815) 338-0393
• Land Conservancy of McHenry County
 (815) 337-9502
• Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute, McHenry County College
(815) 479-7765
• McHenry County
–      Leonore Buckleyk, solid waste coordinator, 815-334-4560
–      Scott Kuykendall, water resource specialist, 815-334-2863

Click to view Slideshow: 

Checklist and Application

The application packet must be complete and arranged in the order listed below. All original transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other required documents must be received by MCHS by May 8 (extended) in a single package. The application package must be stapled or paper clipped in the top left hand corner. Incomplete or nonconforming applications will not be considered.

The Nancy Fike Scholarship is open to graduating seniors attending any McHenry County high school who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and who plan on studying history, education or the social sciences. Children and grandchildren of MCHS Board members and staff are not eligible.


[ ] Scholarship application

[ ] Essay of at least 500 words – Topic for 2020:

This April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans – 10 percent of the population at the time – took to the streets, high school and college campuses, and hundreds of cities to advocate for the protection of our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

A half century later it is worth evaluating how far this movement has come, where it has fallen short, and where it is headed.  Students, such as Greta Thunberg of Sweden, have taken the lead in demanding new environmental action on issues such as global warming, over-reliance on fossil fuels, degradation of ground water, and urban sprawl.  This is particularly true here in McHenry County, where ecotourism and agriculture can be at odds with economic development and the promise of new jobs.

Analyze some of the environmental challenges still facing our county and state. How have our towns and county dealt with environmental issues previously? What should we be prepared to do in terms of conservation and stewardship, and what are the tradeoffs? What sacrifices can we realistically make to protect our planet? If applicable, what are you and your school doing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day?


[ ] Original high school transcript

[ ] Letters of recommendation (at least two, one from a faculty member or administrator at the applicant’s school, and another from a community representative)

[ ] Documentation of community service and involvement

[ ] List of extra-curricular activities, honors received and scholastic achievements



Applicants will be notified of the Society’s decision. The decision regarding the award is conditional until the applicant meets all the following requirements: The applicant must be accepted to a college or university by May 1, and notify MCHS where he or she will attend, as MCHS will pay the scholarship funds directly to the school on behalf of the scholarship winner. All applicants consent to the use of their name, image and story for MCHS press releases, presentations and other materials. All applicants further agree, should they be selected as the winner, to attend one MCHS board meeting for a presentation ceremony as well as to invite a MCHS representative for a presentation at their high school’s honors event. If the conditional scholarship winner does not fulfill the above requirements, MCHS reserves the right to award it to another worthy applicant.

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