Winners of Tucker Tillman Award Announced


The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is honored to announce that, for the first-time, the recipient of the Tom Tillman Award presented by Marquette Academy, has been accompanied by a cash scholarship. Through the generosity of Shalanda Rabadan, the niece of “Tucker” Tillman, the Thomas “Tucker” Tillman Scholarship Fund was created through the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. Tom Tillman, an outstanding athlete and charismatic leader at Marquette High School, was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1973.

Shalanda and her husband, Marcos Rabadan, presented the first Tillman Scholarships to Sam Hettel and Cate Thompson, 2017 graduates of Marquette Academy. This is the first time in the 44-year history of the award that their peers selected two winners, and the first time financial scholarships accompanied the award. Shalanda’s mother, Mariam Tillman, who is Tucker’s sister, and Shalanda’s brother, Thomas James (T.J.) Stokes, himself a 1998 recipient of the Thomas Tillman Award, also attended the emotionally charged award presentation.

The highly coveted Thomas Tillman Award was presented to Sam and Cate, who were nominated by their peers for demonstrating outstanding athletic performance, school spirit, fair play and strong leadership. The Tillman family and others who choose to contribute to the Tillman Scholarship Fund will ensure that the award forever includes a financial component.

“It has been an honor to work with Shalanda over the past year to establish this new scholarship through the SRCCF”, said Pamela Beckett, President of the Foundation. “Shalanda feels she has finally put into action what has been in her heart for many years. We extend our sincere congratulations to Sam and Cate as the first recipients of the Thomas “Tucker” Tillman Scholarship, and to the family of Tucker for keeping his legacy alive in perpetuity.”


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