The 2022 recipients of the One Westerville Scholarship are Leora Kayihura of Westerville Central High School, Maya Chaffin of Westerville North High School and Michael Donkor of Westerville South High School. Winners were announced at their respective Evening of Excellence events.
Created by WCSD alumni to support the Black community in Westerville, the One Westerville Scholarship is awarded to a Black student from each of the district’s high schools who excel in the classroom and community and have demonstrated financial need.
Kayihura is president of the All for One social justice group and founder of Central Nervous System – a club centered on student access to mental health services. She is also a senior class officer, a member of the Superintendent Advisory Committee and peer tutor. Her work in the community includes volunteering at the WARM local food pantry.
Chaffin participates extensively in school and community activities, including varsity cheerleading, Warrior2Warrior mentoring, District Equity Team, and National Honor Society. Her objective is to secure admission to a collegiate film and media studies program in preparation for a career in the film industry.
Donkor is class president, vice president of student council, senior team captain for the track team and a student advisor for Hope Squad. He plans to study biology and pursue his goals in the entertainment industry.
Two Westerville 2020 graduates — Ameena Freeman of WNHS and Tah’bre Yemi of WSHS — created the One Westerville Scholarship Fund in response to the racial justice protests over the summer following the death of George Floyd. A scholarship fund, they said, offered a way to support the black community in Westerville.
They worked with other Westerville graduates and district staff to launch the fund, creating a committee to set the criteria for the scholarship.
Under the guidance and support of WNHS athletic director Wes Ellifritz, the One Westerville MLK Basketball Classic on Jan. 17 raised money for the scholarship. Neighborhood Bridges, a 501(3)(c) charity that supports direct local giving to help students and families meet basic needs, matched funds raised to enable a $1,000 award to each student.
Other members of the One Westerville Scholarship Committee include: Alice Stevenson, a 2019 WNHS graduate; Kendall Browne, a 2019 WSHS graduate; and 1982 WSHS graduate Rick Bannister, who is chief executive officer and founder of neighborhood bridges.
“’Seeking equity for students so they can engage and succeed in school and life’ is a pillar of neighborhood bridges’ mission,” Bannister said. ““The One Westerville Scholarship originated from vision, compassion and a drive for change. The spirit of this endeavor lives on in the achievements and dreams of this year’s recipients and those to come. We congratulate Maya Chaffin, Michael Donkor and Leora Kayihura on their academic excellence and commitment to spreading kindness in our community.”