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Chicago Automobile Trade Association Awards the 2022 Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship to John Hersey High School Student


The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) presented the 2022 Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship to John Hersey High School graduating senior Grace Listopad. The CATA, Chicagoland’s new-car dealer association and producer of the Chicago Auto Show, established the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship–a $1,000 grant–to honor Carol Cooling. Carol was Hersey alumna and long-time NBC 5 Chicago Special Events Director who died in 2013 following a battle with cancer.

The CATA worked closely alongside Cooling during the annual productions of NBC's Chicago Auto Show TV special and developed a lasting relationship that went beyond the production of the special. Cooling was the strong foundation to a successful partnership that led to multiple Emmy Award wins for the show. Although Cooling's official title at NBC was "Director of Special Events," she was most frequently referred to as the "heart and soul" of the station.

“This scholarship is very personal for us as we look for ways to keep Carol’s legacy and larger-than-life outlook alive and are honored to present this year’s scholarship to such an outstanding student,” said Jen Morand, president of the CATA and general manager of the Chicago Auto Show.

“Every year, the Hersey business teachers select one standout senior that not only took all of our business classes but stood out amongst the rest of a very impressive Hersey student body. Grace Listopad would have stood out any year, but because of the last two years of COVID craziness, she really stood out,” said Hersey business teacher, Daniel Vesper. “While many students used their remote learning on Zoom to shut their cameras and brains off, Grace was one of only a few students to have her camera on. It was so refreshing to see her face instead of a one inch by one inch ‘G’ icon. We also got to hear her voice because she was still answering our questions and asking her own. I never thought that would be something that made a student stand out, but COVID did help bring to light a person's true character, and Grace's character is unmatched.”

Listopad will graduate from Hersey High School this month and attend Northern Michigan University this fall where she plans to study Sustainable Business and Enterprise Creation which match two of her passions: business and making the world a better place.

Vesper added, “As impressed as I was with Grace as a business student and a district, regional, state and nationally recognized DECA Business Club competitor, it was her creation of the "Pack Up Homelessness" project that made me the proudest of her. Over the last two years, Grace has used her National Honor Society platform to help collect thousands of dollars’ worth of donated items for people who need more help than others. And that defines what Grace is about...others. Grace will do anything in her power to make someone's day better and our society, business community, and world need people like her leading us to the better world she will help create.”

"Carol Cooling was the type of person I am working to be. She made a positive impact on many lives. My volunteerism throughout my life has made a positive impact and I will continue to make a positive impact, just like Carol,” said Listopad. “I am honored to receive this scholarship. I cannot wait to expand my education even more at Northern Michigan University while carrying the spirit of Carol Cooling with me.”

Hersey High School students will have the chance to apply for the Spirit of Carol Cooling Scholarship again next year.

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