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June 20, 2012

All Photos by Santosh C.

          Common Roots Initiative (CRI) hosted a scholarship ceremony on June 7, 2012 at Villa Nova Banquets (Villa Park, IL) for its first scholarship recipients -- Glenn Lid, a conceptual, honors, and AP chemistry teacher, and Konstantin Kuksenko, a graduating senior. Both awardees were from Proviso East High School and each received $1,000 in scholarship monies.


CRI President Soumya Rao presents Glenn Lid with the latest iPad for his classroom, which will be used in conjunction with the Promethean Board devices at Proviso East High School.


RI President Soumya Rao awards Konstantin Kuksenko with a certificate for the 2012 student scholarship, sponsored mostly by Proviso East High School’s Class of 1996.

           CRI board members attended the dinner ceremony along with the recipients, supporters, key donors, and Kuksenko’s parents and brother Ilya.

          Also, Lid surprised Ilya Kuksenko with a George Eastman Young Leaders award from the University of Rochester. He received a custom pen from the college and a certificate from Lid. The award recognized futures leaders who may have a similar impact on the world as George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company and who invented roll film. The honor made him eligible to apply for a scholarship to use at the University of Rochester that could provide $7,500 to $20,000 per year.


Glenn Lid gives Ilya Kuksenko a custom pen and certificate for the University of Rochester honor.

           “You all are like shooting stars,” said Lid while speaking of the Kuksenko brothers. “You just came and brightened up the whole school.”

          Many attendees of the ceremony were former students of Glenn Lid’s chemistry classes from almost two decades ago. Lid spoke about how amazed he was that his students would be honoring him with a scholarship in 2012, and that it was used to purchase the latest iPad. Both aspects were unimaginable when he began teaching 33 years ago. He brought “Lid’s Kids” t-shirts to help everyone commemorate the moment.


(From left) Konstantin Kuksenko, Reggie Wright, Jonathan Bus, Kesha Green, Glenn Lid, Soumya Rao, Jennifer Cassell, Hari Rao, Shay Rao

          Common Roots Initiative (CRI) was founded in 2010 through the combined efforts of four alumni from Proviso East High School (PEHS). Its board is primarily comprised of high school friends and family who decided that giving back to their community meant helping to make an impact on both sides of the school desk. In coming years, CRI will expand its financial assistance to other schools in west suburban Chicago.

          Visit our donation page if you would to make a monetary contribution toward our scholarships. If you would like to use an employer-matching program or want volunteer to help CRI, please contact us.