Incoming freshman Hannah Quaid learned the value of civic engagement in a powerful way at a young age. Ever since her mother and Illinois State alumna, Elizabeth Quaid ’86, survived cancer, giving back to others has become a lifelong passion.
Quaid and her family have long been assisting cancer patients by volunteering for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Elizabeth and her cousin, who is also a cancer survivor, founded a relay team called Team T.O.U.G.H. (Together Our Team Unites and Gives Hope).
This is just one of the many volunteer efforts that enabled Quaid to be selected this year as one of seven recipients of the McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship, which provides free tuition to students who have a history of leadership, community service, and commitment to our community.
Before considering Illinois State, Quaid planned to attend community college to save her family money. On February 27, those plans changed. After learning she received the scholarship, along with her best friend, Parker Daugherty, Quaid decided to join the Redbird family.
“I kind of started tearing up just because I’ve been working so hard throughout my high school career,” Quaid said. “I immediately called my mom, and she started crying.”
When Quaid was 3 years old, Elizabeth was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Although she’s been in remission for approximately 15 years, the pair have continued to make giving back to others a priority in their lives.
“She always gives back to everybody. She’s been a huge inspiration in my life, so I try to just model after her,” Quaid said.
As a high school student at LeRoy High School, Quaid participated in Student Council, Key Club, and LEAD. She spent the remainder of her free time working two jobs. Quaid’s hard work and dedication to service won’t stop there.
At Illinois State, Quaid plans on continuing to serve others by getting involved with Circle K International, an organization that strives to develop university students into a global network of responsible citizens with a lifelong commitment to service.
“I just hope to get involved and continue serving because it’s one of the things I really enjoy,” she said.
Community engagement is just one of Quaid’s passions. She is also interested in music and business. Throughout high school, her band director helped her develop a love for music as a trumpet player. Quaid plans to minor in music and find a business major that best suits her academic interests.
She is excited to take in the full Redbird experience.
“I get to finally pursue my dreams,” Quaid said.