J. Perez receives the 2021 Jacob Family Scholarship


MENDOTA – Mendota High School senior Javier Perez was selected to receive the 2021 Clara Cypreansen and Alfred O. Jacob Scholarship, which was awarded on May 29 during MHS’s graduation ceremonies. Perez is the 24th MHS senior to receive the Jacob Family Scholarship, which carries an award of $1,000.

Upon the death of Clara Jacob in 1997, the Jacob Family Scholarship Fund was established by Jeanne Jacob along with her husband, Gerry Frank and her brother, Tom Jacob. The scholarship was created to honor the memories of Clara Cypreansen Jacob, who taught in Mendota public schools for more than 35years, and Alfred Otto Jacob, a civic leader and life-long resident of Mendota. Also, both of the Jacob children were raised in Mendota and are MHS graduates. Tom matriculated in 1958 and Jeanne in 1965. Her class would have celebrated their 55th reunion last year, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of the scholarship is to provide assistance to an MHS student to attend a college of choice. Both Clara and Al Jacob strongly believed in higher education and thought that continued education was the key to future success in life.

Throughout their lives, Clara and Al Jacob were involved with Mendota’s youth. Al was a founding member of the Boy Scouts of Mendota and the Mendota Athletic Boosters Society. Clara first taught physical education at Mendota high School and then third grade at Lincoln School. After retiring from teaching, she tutored children in reading and English. Both helped design and raise funds to build the Mendota Community Swimming Pool in 1958 and served on the board of the Swimming Pool Association. At the time of his death in 1984, Al Jacob was the longest serving alderman in Mendota’s history.

Javier Perez plans first to attend Illinois Valley Community College to obtain his Associate’s degree and then continue his education at a four-year institution to become a Spanish teacher. He intends to participate in IVCC’s Project Success Program, which provides first-generation college students with the one-on-one support and mentorship they need to make a successful transition not just from high school to community college, but also from community college to a university. He has worked evenings and weekends throughout high school to earn and save enough money to attend college. Receiving the Jacob Family scholarship should help ease that burden.

Clara and Al Jacob would be pleased to know that long after their deaths, they are still helping the youth of Mendota achieve their dreams.