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Rock Island High School alum earns national 'GritGrant'

Daivari Rogers, now a freshman at Black Hawk College, returned to his former high school to receive a national award.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Only four high school students from across the country were chosen for the 2023 McKenzie Foundation and Uncharted Learning GritGrant awards. It is an award that highlights a person's actions, and how they motivate others to never quit. 

This year was Daivari Rogers's turn to accept this award. Rogers is a 2023 graduate of Rock Island High School.

"This award is for students who show resiliency and overcome difficulties," Rock Island teacher Trish Matson said.

Matson was the teacher who nominated Rogers for this award, which includes a $2,500 award for the recipient. In coordination with the McKenzie Foundation, Rogers also earned a laptop to help in his studies at Black Hawk College this fall.

"When I got the application from the teacher. . .your scores were the highest of any high school student in the nation," Jim McKenzie, founder of the McKenzie Foundation, said to Rogers.

Here are the criteria considered when the McKenzie Foundation chooses award recipients.

  • Optimism, confidence, and creativity
  • Resilience despite fear
  • Laser-like focus on meaningful goals
  • Excellence, not perfection
  • Strong, independent character that strives for harmony and balance

"I feel great because I didn't expect to win, but it's an honor," Rogers said.

Other GritGrant recipients are from Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, and Spain.

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