Allison Rivera Scholarship Endowment for Minooka High School
Allison Rivera was a vibrant, talented student at Minooka Community High School. Sadly, her life ended too soon due to un-diagnosed cardiac issues.
This endowment was established by her family as a way to keep her memory alive. Monies are provided to MCHS each spring to provide two scholarships in Allie's name - one for science and one for literature.
From the Morris Daily Herald:
Channahon teen dies of heart anomaly
By Jo Ann Hustis — [email protected]
Oct. 25, 2011
CHANNAHON — A Minooka Community High School senior unexpectedly died Saturday, Oct. 22, after becoming ill while visiting a Channahon pumpkin farm with her boyfriend.
Grundy County Coroner John Callahan pronounced Allison Rivera, of Channahon, dead shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday in the emergency room at Morris Hospital.
Callahan said Monday that as the victim and her boyfriend, whom he did not identify, were visiting the Dollinger Pumpkin Farm, she told him she did not feel well.
She was transported to the Minooka Fire Station on U.S. 6. While she was being treated there, she went into full cardiac arrest. Resuscitation was started, and she was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Callahan said a medical examination Sunday indicated her death was caused by a heart anomaly, or a defect in the coronary artery within the heart.
"A heart anomaly usually results in sudden death to those in their later teen years," he said. "Some with a heart anomaly live to their 40s and 50s, then it causes the heart to beat out of sync, and they die."
An anomaly is not discovered during regular medical exams, Callahan said.
"Unless you have the symptoms to go to a cardiologist for tests, you wouldn't find it," he added. "Like a lot of things in health, if you don't have the symptoms to point doctors in that direction, it goes undetected."
A similar incident took the life of an 18-year-old in Grundy County about 1 1/2 years ago, Callahan said.
Copyright © 2019 Morris Herald-News. All rights reserved.
Keeping her voice alive
Rivera family publishes book of teen's writings to raise funds for scholarships
By Jessica Cohea — [email protected]
April 5, 2012
"Take a deep breath. Lean in close. Never let me go."
Before she passed away on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, Channahon teenager Allison Rivera wrote these words and many others in her poems and short stories. Her father, Joe Rivera, said she had been writing since around the time she was 10 years old.
She wrote in personal journals and for Minooka Community High School's writing club, Kaleidoscope.
The Rivera family may have lost their daughter at the young age of 18, but, as she wished, they will never let her go.
"I don't want people to forget my baby," said Allie's mother, Jeannie Rivera.
After Allie's untimely passing from a previously unknown heart anomaly, the Rivera family and friends took the time to read through Allie's journals.
"We must have gone through two or three dozen journals," Joe said.
And after doing so, the family decided to collect and publish their daughter's writings. The consolidation process took about five months, but "Allison's Wonderland" is just about ready for print.
"We want to keep Allie's voice alive," Joe said.
One of Allie's brothers, Bryan, 26, designed the cover with a peace sign and a heart inside of a larger heart. The symbols are all in white on top of a royal blue background, Allie's favorite color. Allie is pictured on the back, along with a description of the book and her quote about never letting go.
Joe said he has already started to compile orders through his email, [email protected], but will soon start a website in Allie's name where orders can placed, too.
All of the proceeds from "Allison's Wonderland" will be given to Minooka High School students for continuing education.
This year, the Rivera family has set up two $500 scholarships in Allie's honor to be awarded to two students at the end of April. One will be awarded to a senior pursuing an education in the sciences and the other will go to a senior pursuing an education in writing.
"Allie's dream was to study veterinary medicine," Joe said. "Her passion was writing."
The Rivera family found out that Allie had been accepted to the animal sciences program at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She was also to receive a $28,000 scholarship, Joe said.
After she passed, the family informed university personnel they could use the scholarship money to help further another student's education.
Although the Riveras cannot send their own daughter to college in the fall of 2012, they hoped to be able to help other Minooka seniors continue their educations. This year's scholarships were funded by Allie's family. The plan is to fund them in the coming years with the book's proceeds, however.
Joe said anyone wishing to purchase a copy can email him at [email protected]
Jeannie hopes people will think of Allie whenever they see the book. She carries Allie's picture around with her everywhere she goes and thinks of her daughter daily. She doesn't want Allie's memory to slip away.
"She touched so many people's lives," Jeannie said. "I want them to think of her when they see this book."
Copyright © 2019 Morris Herald-News. All rights reserved.
Allison Rivera kept more than two dozen journals in just 18 years. Hundreds of pages of stories, essays and poetry, all in her girlish handwriting. Scribbles and doodles exorcising the wrong words and conjuring up the right. Her prolific writings tell us she took her work as a writer seriously.
She referred to herself as “Allison Wonderland,” and her stories reflect the magic, fantasy and dreams that are the hallmarks of a rich imagination. As I read her journals, I could see her hand moving across the page, too fast for the pencil she favored, the words running together as her stories picked up speed. Like so many great authors, she was more concerned with telling a story than with the syntax of paragraphs, perfect spelling, or punctuation. In this edition, we’ve edited lightly, leaving her work just as she did – unapologetically imperfect, innocent and full of potential.
Allison wrote without self-consciousness, that fertile ground that so many authors (me included) find elusive and fleeting. Simply, she wrote as though she didn’t have time to waste.
And sadly, though none of us knew it, she didn’t. Allison died on October 22, 2011, just months after her 18th birthday. An undiagnosed cardio-thoracic problem swept her away down the rabbit hole. In one of her stories, this may have been a cover for a naughty sea nymph bearing her away to a new life as royalty in the fathoms below; or maybe a young woman reborn into the strong body of a lion, free to roam in a new dimension, though she’d left our own.
In our world, it simply meant we lost her. And it hurts. But to read Allison’s stories is to hear her voice again, to feel the energy and promise that only a teenage girl can channel. So we’ve collected her work here to share Allison’s Wonderland with everyone who craves a little magic.
Many young people are overlooked these days. Their ideas and dreams are often discounted by society merely because of their age and limited life experiences. One such young person is our daughter and sister, Allison Rivera. Allie’s life was tragically cut short, but in her 18 years she lived life to its fullest and shared experiences that many people will never come to enjoy.
Allie had countless interests including journalism, debating, environmental activism, and animal rights. Allie was applying to colleges and planned to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Just recently she had been awarded an academic scholarship to study Animal Science at the University of Illinois. However it was her passion for reading and writing that captured her real essence.
One of Allie’s teachers and mentors described her as a joy-bringer. As her family, we hope you get a glimpse of the happiness she brought to every life she touched. The book culminates her views, feelings, and desires as described in her own words. The publication of these writings is a labor of love undertaken by the family and friends of Allie to ensure her memory is alive and will never be forgotten.
As a person, Allie is gone……. but as an author her journey has just begun.
We pray that her writings will spread joy and comfort for all who she continues to touch.
A Trip to New York
The feeling of adventure stays with a young person for a very long time. At age twelve my dad announced that we would be taking a vacation to New York. Never being to a big city, besides Chicago, I was ecstatic. When thinking back, I realize what a huge influence that trip had on me.
Plane rides have always been an exciting experience for me. Out the window, I gasped at the bright lights of New York City. Giddy with anticipation, I completely forgot my weariness and took in the lights and interesting things around me. Of course the airport was just about the same as any other. However, when I looked at the bright lights of Time Square, I knew that I was somewhere special.
The noise, the people, the city engulfed us as we left our hotel that night. “So how do you like the city?” my dad asked as we walked along the teeming sidewalks in Time Square.
“I love it,” I beamed up at him. How could one place hold so much? The whole mass of people around me was amazing, and it made me somewhat wary on the outside. People on the streets passed me without a glance as I shrunk close to my father’s side, trying to stay out of the constant traffic of people. On the inside, though, I was whirling.
I could say that my favorite part of that trip was the shopping, or the museum, or the Broadway play, though I think it had to be the feeling of being somewhere new and exciting, having my own adventure. Feeling amazingly special, when really I doubt anyone even noticed me.
It is understandable why people hate the city: too much noise, rude people, the smell of car fumes. I think a different way: a symphony of sound, interesting people, and the delicious smell of food being sold on the streets. That visit taught me that there is more to life than just Illinois, and I intend to discover the wonder of it all.
Since then I have been to Mexico, Hawaii, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Florida. When I am older, I intend to travel across the world. But above all, no matter where I may go, New York will always be my favorite because it was the first big place I visited, and it made a huge impact on me.
- online at cfgrundycounty.com
- mail/deliver a check to:
Community Foundation of Grundy County
Attn: Allison Rivera Endowment
520 W. Illinois Avenue
Morris, IL 60450
Each spring Allie's family instructs when and how much to send to Minooka Community High School in Allie's memory.