Above & Beyond Scholarship

Past Projects

Comments from Past Finalist


"I am certain the other finalists would agree with me that we took so much more from this competition in addition to your generous monetary award. I am so grateful that your scholarship served as the impetus for a program that I truly believe will endure at Rock Island High School for years to come."


​"This scholarship was been an amazing experience and opportunity. Not only was I rewarded with a generous scholarship to help further my education, but an irreplaceable experience and a whole new level of knowledge, compassion and understanding. I also can see that this whole process has prepared me for future accomplishments. Public speaking, presentation skills, organization, time management and creativity were just a few of the qualities I personally benefited from during this project. Although I will apply for several other scholarships, I can guarantee that I will not get half as much out of them as I have the Thoms Family Above & Beyond Scholarship."


Sample of Past Projects


The projects can fall into many categories ranging from community service to for-profit projects.  The scholarship encourages finding an area the student is passionate about and willing to pursue through leadership.  Here are a few examples of projects of the past.

Help the Kids - An after school program offered to neighborhood children.  Tutoring was afforded to children that would not have otherwise had an opportunity.

Black Hawk Area Special Braves Basketball - Providing an opportunity for students at the Black Hawk Area Special Education Center to participate in a half-time basketball game held at the RIHS Field House.

Making Memories last a Life Time - Development of memory boards for Alzheimer patients.  Touching the patients mentally and emotionally.

Tutoring for Rocks, by Rocks - A student run tutoring service at Rock Island High School intented to confront the serious problem of failing students.

Special Kids with Spirit - Giving disabled students a chance to cheer at a RIHS varsity football game.  Including various practices with the cheer leading squad and securing permission and time with the school administration, parents and sponsors. Based on her life experiences with a sister diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

History Alive - A student with a passion for teaching History as a career, developed history lessons for a Sixth grade class with the following feedback: "What I liked about Erica coming to see us was that she taught more and in a fun she made the hard stuff become easy." and "The best thing was Erica wasn't boring when we learned stuff."

Homeless Youth - Development of discussion topics for the homeless youth at the John Lewis Youth Homeless Shelter.  Here lasting comment to the Scholarship committee was "..I realized that it had never been about the money or scholarship but the honest drive inside me to make their lives a little better."

Thoms family