Inspirational videos about Illinois education champions

Watch stories about three central Illinois residents making a difference in education: Marques Lowe, Christopher Koch, and Trish O'Shaughnessy.

As part of the American Graduate Day initiative, WILL-TV and Illinois Public Media profiled these "Champions of Education" in Illinois. Watch their stories below:

Marques Lowe of Champaign created a Young Gentleman’s Club for struggling male adolescents, and runs a private track and field program for area middle and high school students. Read more about Lowe.

Marques Lowe:


Christopher Koch, Illinois’ state superintendent of education, has spearheaded an effort to improve the training of school principals and implemented a statewide teaching performance standard. Read more about Koch.

Christopher Koch:


Trish O’Shaughnessy heads a new college readiness organization for Peoria middle schoolers who attend a weekly club meeting where they talk about careers. Read more about O'Shaughnessy.

Trish O'Shaughnessy:


WILL-TV received a $10,000 grant from WNET through the American Graduate initiative to create the local video and audio stories in partnership with WTVP-TV in Peoria and CU-Citizen Access, a community journalism project of the University of Illinois College of Media. The stories, each one-and-a-half minutes long, highlight significant work in education locally.

American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen is a national public media initiative to address the dropout crisis. The centerpiece of this work was the Sept. 27 American Graduate Day, a full-day, live broadcast and outreach event that profiled a variety of community-based solutions and gives viewers the opportunity to get involved by volunteering their time, talent, or other resources. These efforts aim to ensure that all students realize their full potential through completing their high school education, and beyond. 

“We’re excited to be producing local stories about people in our communities making significant efforts to change the lives of young people,” said Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement at Illinois Public Media. “We love being able to shine a light on their good work.”