Labor scholarship sends student to the Golden State

Jimmy Tunney

Jimmy Tunney was awarded a $2,500 scholarship made possible by the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. He is attending Marymount California University to study accounting and law. Tunney is pictured with his mother Chris, far right, her partner, Kristen Ziman, and attorneys, from left, Dexter Evans, Mario Palermo and Jay Johnson. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

AURORA — California, baseball, accounting and law don’t sound like they mix well together, but college freshman Jimmy Tunney is going to make it work.

Tunney is starting out his college career 2,000 miles away in the Golden State (the California part) at Marymount California University, where the southpaw (the baseball part) will be playing for the Mariners. His lifelong passion for baseball and math (the accounting part) is driving him towards a career of writing sports contracts (the law part) for his future clients.

In an essay submitted to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley for scholarship opportunities, Tunney said he always, “had a plan for life and I knew that baseball and law school would be a part of it.”

With his essay, he was awarded a $2,500 scholarship made possible by the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. (Woodruff Johnson & Palermo was not involved in the selection process for scholarship recipients.) The injury law firm created the scholarship in 2012 to give back to organized labor and to the Fox Valley community — which has helped make the firm the largest injury law firm in the greater Fox Valley area.

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Because the scholarship is a labor-minded scholarship, in order to be considered, one of the criteria was Tunney had to have a parent who is a union member. Tunney’s mother Chris is member of the Aurora Association of Professional Police Officers. As an Aurora Police Department (APD) investigator, she is part of a task force, which investigates allegations of child sexual abuse.

“Unfortunately, we are always busy. Each one of us juggles 30 to 40 case loads at a time,” she explained. With a Masters in child psychology abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency, Chris said she loves the “naughty kids.”

“I love the kids that get in trouble, because that was me when I was younger. I seem to understand them better,” she added.

After his graduation from West Aurora High School, Jimmy, 18, was accepted to several colleges, but the warm weather of California beckoned him. Due to its prestigious accounting school, a strong runner up was the University of Illinois. Chris’ partner APD Cmmd. Kristen Ziman explained Jimmy was torn between the decision to play baseball (which wasn’t an option at U of I), and that was where his passion lies.

“Jim was never a child we worried about. We know he’d made the right decision,” Ziman said.

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