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Kahok grad is first recipient of new student/athlete scholarship

Pat Adams poses with Jordan Gary, first recipient of the Pat Adams Lady Kahok Scholar Athlete Scholarship, (Photo courtesy of CUSD 10)

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

Collinsville High School 2023 graduate Jordan Gary is the first recipient of the Pat Adams Lady Kahok Scholar Athlete Scholarship.

Pat Adams, a 1956 Kahok graduate, has funded a scholarship through the Collinsville Area Community Foundation and was impressed by Gary’s academic and athletic accolades. Fall 2023 will begin Gary’s journey as a St. Louis University student majoring in psychology, while resuming her soccer career on the school’s women’s team. 

Gary was a four-year honor roll student, as well as an all-conference and all-regional athlete  running track and playing basketball, soccer during her last three years at CHS. During Gary’s freshman year, not only was her athletic life affected by the global pandemic but her personal life as well with the sudden death of her father. 

She said she uses that emotion as fuel to succeed. 

“I am playing to make my dad proud as he watches me from above,” Gary said. “I now have a different mindset every time I step on the field, court or track. Because of the lessons and qualities I have gained from this loss, I have been able to maintain good grades in school and continue to be successful in my athletic endeavors.”

Gary represented Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 as a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, RHO KAPPA National Social Studies Honor Society. Even with a lot of her time spent on academics and athletics, she also contributed to the Kahoki, the school newspaper, according to a press release from CUSD 10. 

“It is an honor to receive this scholarship,” Gary said. “I think Ms.Pat has a big impact and has provided some big shoes to fill.”

The Pat Adams Lady Kahok Scholar Athlete Scholarship is a one-time $5,000 award for CHS graduating female student/athletes with plans of attending college. Criteria for selection requires a student to be strong, both academically and athletically.  

Adams attended Illinois State Normal University, currently known as Illinois State where she played basketball, field hockey and softball. After graduating from ISNU, Adams said she spent a few years teaching up north. She was an educator for a total of 34 years, with the last 31 of those years in the East Alton School District 13 where she taught at the elementary and junior high schools. 

Adams has been a sports fanatic all of her life and she said she’s seen directly the positive effect Title IX has had on opportunities for young women in sports. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, “prohibits sex discrimination in any educationalprogram or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid.”

Adams said that as a student at CHS, there was no competitive female athletics, but a Girls Athletic Association. She said in the GAA, females could only play against other females from the same school, the English Club versus the Glee Club for example. Adams said her and other females could only play intramural volleyball, basketball and softball. 

Adams said she was happy with the opportunities available to today’s Lady Kahoks and wanted to reward those students who successfully balance the rigors of athletics and academics. As a young student teacher she was given an anonymous cash donation and that encouraged her to pass the kindness forward. 

“I want this Scholarship to reward someone who has worked hard to be a good student,” Adams said. I received assistance and I want to pass it along. Young people need to be encouraged. If we have the capacity to help someone, we should go ahead and do it”

Adams said she is an enthusiastic fan that “bleeds purple” and she can be found outwardly cheering at various Kahok men’s and women’s sporting events. She loves to share stories and the history of Title IX with today’s athletes to build a bridge between her generation and theirs, per the press release. 

Adams often provides students with copies of  “Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of  Girls in America” 

Clayton Smith, CHS athletic director called Adams a lifelong Kahok and recognized her as a “pioneer“ for female athletics.

“Her generosity in providing scholarships for our student athletes to attend college is a fantastic opportunity,” Smith said.

Adams explained that she wanted to put something in her will to set up a scholarship. “When I read about giving through the Collinsville Area Community Foundation, I decided now was the right time to do it. I can make a difference and meet people benefitting from my scholarship.” 

Dr. Brad Skertich, CUSD 10 superintendent, explained that Adams is an example of how the community feels about the successes of the Collinsville school district.

“Pat exemplifies the love and support our students receive from our community regarding academic and extracurricular success,” Skertich said. “Her generosity will positively impact our future graduates for generations to come.”

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