Charles DeLoach III with family

Charles DeLoach III, a graduate of Chicago Heights School District 170's Kennedy School, Bloom High School, and a student at Olivet Nazarene University, has been recognized with an Illinois Student Laureate Award in recognition of his outstanding academic success.

Each year an outstanding senior from each four-year-degree-granting institution of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and recognition as a Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate.

Student Laureates upon the recommendation of a committee of faculty, staff, and students, are honored for their leadership and service in the pursuit of the betterment of humanity and their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Each Student Laureate receives The Lincoln Academy Student Medallion, a Certificate of Achievement, and The Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award (in the amount of $1,000).

DeLoach received his Student Laureate Medallion from Governor Bruce Rauner at an award ceremony conducted in the Hall of Representatives at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

DeLoach, who is studying Criminal Justice and Social Work at ONU and hopes to pursue work as a pastor and in the areas of Law and Public Policy, is the son of Tamara DeLoach, and Charles DeLoach, II.

"I'm truly speechless, and grateful to God for being nominated and for receiving this award," DeLoach said. "The Illinois Student Laureate Award is an honor that I honestly felt unworthy of, and I'm still trying to take it all in!"

"Yes, I'm excited about the receiving such a prestigious award, but I'm more excited for my parents because it shows them that their God-fearing parenting and love didn't go in vain. They are the reason behind any success that I achieve," DeLoach concluded.

DeLoach also was quick to praise and thank all of the past and present teachers at Kennedy Elementary School and District 170.

"When I think of this District 170 and the teachers at Kennedy Elementary from 2002-2009 I am inspired by the commitment that they show to their students each and every day," he noted.

"I remember those times in the classrooms with great fondness and the valuable life lessons that I learned from them."

"If they see this article I would like to publicly thank all of those staff members who invested in my life. This award is for them as well," DeLoach concluded.

CHSD170 Superintendent Tom Amadio was effusive in praising DeLoach for earning the Student Laureate recognition.

"All of us at School District 170 are thrilled for the success the Charles has achieved as a student at ONU and are proud of the way in which he has represented our district in earning such a prestigious honor," Amadio said.

Joining DeLoach at the presentation of the award were his parents, ONU's Dr. Craig Bishop, and States Attorney of Kankakee, Jim Rowe with whom Charles currently works.