McHenry County College named Catherine Del Santo of Crystal Lake as the recipient of the spring 2019 Joseph A. Blanco Spirit Award, a $600 award given to a student who displays the ability to work toward completing a degree or certificate while overcoming a disability and maintaining a positive attitude.
The MCC Access and Disability Services Department selected Del Santo for her ability to exemplify a can-do attitude and the determination that the award recognizes. The grant can be used for tuition and fees for next fall semester.
Del Santo began at MCC in the fall and is working toward two associate degrees with a specialization in digital media. She plans to pursue a career in animation and cinematic arts.
The Spirit Award was founded in 2009 by Joe Blanco, a longtime MCC tutor who died in 2011, as a way to honor students who inspire others every day. In a rare collaborative move, Del Santo was nominated by three MCC tutors: Ellen Morton, Janice Jellicoe and Denise Andresen, all of whom decided independently to nominate the same student – Catherine Del Santo – for exhibiting the right attitude.
“Catherine is an unfailingly upbeat and hardworking student who laps up tutoring support with enthusiasm and gratitude,” the tutors wrote in a statement. “She is also sharing her talents, serving as a student worker tutoring students in graphic arts and digital media classes. Catherine embodies the can-do attitude and optimistic outlook that Joe Blanco exhibited himself, which makes her a delightfully appropriate candidate for his Spirit Award.”