Junior Part of First Group of Ella French Scholars

Anastasia Papaioannou ‘25 was featured Wednesday on the Steve Cochran Show on WLS-AM 890 as the “Kid of the Week.” She stood out as being among the first group of Chicago area students to receive a scholarship created in memory of fallen Chicago Police officer, Ella French.
French and her partner were shot while on duty in August, 2021. In response, the Chicago Police Foundation established a scholarship in French’s name, to keep her memory – and commitment to law enforcement – alive.
The scholarship is awarded to children of Chicago Police Department members and other youth actively involved in police programming. It is intended to provide financial assistance to offset high school expenses such as tuition, supplies and transportation. 
During a 15-minute interview with host Cochran, Anastasia described how she had to write an essay demonstrating her interest in law enforcement. It was French’s mother, Elizabeth, a retired teacher, who read through all of the applications and handpicked the winners.
Anastasia met Elizabeth French, and Ella’s partners, at the awards luncheon in October, when she was presented with the scholarship check.
“I want to be like Ella French,” Anastasia said. “She wanted the greater good. She wanted to help people and keep everyone safe.”
Anastasia went on to describe another of her role models in law enforcement, her father, Dep. Chief Chris Papaioannou, who is a 25-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department.
“My Dad is one of my biggest heroes,” Anastasia said. “He’s very inspiring. I can’t even process the work he does. I’m very proud to be his daughter.”
Anastasia described how she is pursuing her interest in criminal justice at Saint Viator by taking electives, such as forensics, which she is taking this semester and plans to take again next semester. 
“I really want to get into that,” she said. “It’s been really fun.”
Anastasia also pointed to the AP courses she is taking and that scholarship money she received will help her afford the costs of these electives and AP level courses.
In wrapping up the interview, Cochran asked Anastasia what she would say to other prospective law enforcement members and their families, in dealing with the daily stress, risks and danger.
“It’s hard, it’s tough,” Anastasia said. “There are a lot of risks to take, but in the end you’re all working to help others and working for a better world. 
“I think that’s amazing, and they should be honored,” she added. “They should be proud to be in a family like that, like I am.”
Located in Arlington Heights, IL, Saint Viator High School is a private, co-ed, Catholic school for grades 9-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.