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Carnahan Family Tenacity Awards

Recognizing Students’ Tenacity

Each spring, Communities In Schools of Chicago recognizes hard-working students who don’t normally get attention for school success. These students may have struggled with their attendance, behavior, or grades, but with the help of a dedicated CIS of Chicago Student Supports Manager, they persevered to meet their goals.

This school year, students faced unique challenges as they readjusted to in-person learning, after a year and a half of stress and isolation from the pandemic. This was layered on top of other issues that many students grapple with, including spikes in violence within their communities.

CIS of Chicago’s school-based team helped students readjust to the school building and provided direct support so they could stay focused on their goals. CIS of Chicago Tenacity Award winners remained resilient and determined to succeed.

Since 2014, CIS of Chicago has presented 145 students with a Tenacity Award. Students receive a gift card, a certificate of achievement, and a personalized ceremony at their school. Past winners have purchased a laptop, a bicycle to get to and from an after-school job, and new clothing for school. As important as the cash award is the public recognition for students who dug in, stayed hopeful, and progressed on their goals.

This Year's Tenacity Award Winners

In 2022, the Carnahan Family Tenacity Awards were presented to:

  • Roberto, Acero – Brighton Park Elementary School
  • Tamia, Distinctive Schools: Art In Motion
  • Melissa, Lázaro Cárdenas Elementary School
  • Royshawn, Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School
  • Monica, Chávez Multicultural Academic Center
  • Brian, CICS Ralph Ellison High School
  • Xaiden, CICS West Belden Elementary School
  • Roneisha, Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School
  • Amy, Henry Clay Elementary School
  • Bernie, Darwin Elementary School
  • Breanna, James R. Doolittle, Jr. Elementary School
  • Natalie, John F. Eberhart Elementary School
  • Nani, Farragut Career Academy
  • Jayleen, Frank W. Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy
  • Erika, Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School
  • Antwan, Helen M. Hefferan Elementary School
  • William, Gurdon S. Hubbard High School
  • Kevin, John L. Marsh Elementary School
  • Tony, Stephen T. Mather High School
  • Jessie, Arnold Mireles Academy
  • Erika, William P. Nixon Elementary School
  • Destiny, Noble Schools – DRW College Prep
  • Casandra, Phoenix STEM Military Academy
  • Abel, Pilsen Community Academy
  • Marcell, A. Philip Randolph Elementary School
  • Jocelyn, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy
  • Christopher, Jacqueline B. Vaughn Occupational High School
  • Nina, George Washington High School
  • Tilia, Daniel Webster Elementary School
  • Jameer, Oliver S. Westcott Elementary School
  • Misaela, YCCS – Association House H.S.

In The News

  • In 2022, Rob Elgas of ABC-7 interviewed Tenacity Award winner Jocelyn, along with her mother Rosa and her CIS Student Supports Manager Juanita. Jocelyn shared the progress she’s made with Juanita’s help, and Mrs. Ventura shared what Juanita’s support has meant for the entire family. Watch here.

  • In 2020, Bernie Tafoya of WBBM Newsradio interviewed Field Supervisor Paul Fagen and one of the honorees, Victorious, about what it means to win this award. “I think it was an amazing step in my life ’cause I wasn’t expecting it,” Victorious said. “I was surprised.” Listen here.

  • In 2019, Sarah Karp of WBEZ Chicago Public Radio reported on the Tenacity Awards and the story of Roselyn, our recipient at Saucedo Elementary. Read here.

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.