Growing up in Zach Angles’ house, it was a family tradition to pitch in and help others. When he recently found himself on the receiving end of a prestigious scholarship, it was happy news that caught him by surprise.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got it,” Angles said. “Really, it made my whole 2021 better. I was so excited, I was like: ‘What is happening?’”
As one of seven children—and the only son—Angles said having six sisters helped him develop social skills, and because their family was so large, his parents instilled in them a sense of empathy for people in need. Kristin and Frank Angles made their children aware at an early age that not everyone in the community has enough food to eat.
Angles has also been influenced by Jim Tuite, his godfather. Tuite is a daily volunteer with the Saint Vincent De Paul Society food pantry. Angles likes to help out there, too, and finds the act of volunteering has its benefits for the giver and the receiver.
“Whenever I volunteer, it makes my day and my whole week honestly,” Angles said.
That dedication to serving others has helped Angles, a University High School grad and incoming Illinois State University freshman, earn a McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship, which provides free tuition to students who have a history of leadership, community service, and commitment to the community. He is one of eight recipients.
Angles has donated his time as a peer mentor to The Penguin Project of McLean County, a Broadway musical production where the roles are filled by children and young adults with developmental disabilities. He has participated in The Pantagraph’s Holiday Spectacular, which provides food for the Salvation Army during the holidays. He has volunteered with Historic St. Patrick’s Youth Group, which takes on beautification projects for the church and for some of its senior members. Of all these activities, one stands out above the rest.
“My favorite has been making the annual visits to area nursing homes during the holiday season to visit residents and sing Christmas carols,” Angles said. “We are always treated with kindness and gratitude.”
Through volunteering and setting the tone at home, Angles’ parents inspired their children in several ways. Their son not only inherited the volunteering gene, but he also developed an interest in his mother’s work.
“I will study accountancy,” Angles said about enrolling in the College of Business at Illinois State in the fall. “Mom’s an accountant, so I’m going to take after her and hopefully work in corporate accounting.”
The first thing he’s looking forward to once he gets on campus is attending classes in a classroom and not via Zoom. He also plans to explore the numerous opportunities to get involved with student groups. A hard worker, when he’s not busy with school-related pursuits, he’ll be working full-time at Chick-fil-A as a team leader.
Angles has always had an interest in Illinois State because it’s in his hometown and near his family. Plus, his four older sisters all chose Illinois State. After college he plans to pursue his career in the Bloomington-Normal area so that he can continue the local volunteer work that has been such an important part of his life from the beginning.
“I’d like to stay here and maybe take after my godfather,” he said.
He’s grateful for the feeling of satisfaction that helping others brings him, especially when he can help someone for whom life’s ordinary tasks have become too difficult. He said simply helping an elderly person to the car with groceries brightens their day and his.
Most of his gratitude and appreciation goes to his mother and father.
“A big thanks to them for sure,” he said. “My parents have been the ones to help guide me.”