Elijah McKoy – University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Elijah enjoys rainy weather, exercising, listening to music, and exploring every aspect of life. He is most inspired by everyone who has helped him grow and establish values he strives to follow. Elijah states, “I hope to reach my fullest leadership potential so that I can impact and encourage others.”
Katie Swayne – Duke University
Katie shares, “I am an outgoing, creative, problem solver who enjoys participating in outdoor activities. I am an active reader and love volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and the Forsyth Humane Society. In the fall, I will be attending the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University where I hope to be involved in campus ministries and club soccer.”
Jordan Washington – Kennesaw State University
Jordan is a graduating senior at Richmond Hill High School and is in the dual enrollment program taking college classes at Savannah Technical College. She points out, “I frequently volunteer in my local community with CURE Childhood Cancer, Memorial Children’s Hospital, and Savannah Dream Center while working for Bryan County After School Program as a student intern.” Jordan is very excited to be attending Kennesaw State University in the fall of 2023 as she is pursuing a degree in Early Education. Pursuing a teaching career has always been her greatest aspiration in life, and she has always longed to inspire people's lives by offering them essential knowledge that will elevate their chances of success in the future.
Cooper Putnam – North Carolina State University
Cooper is motivated each and every day by his faith, family, and friends. He loves to spend time playing golf, working out/lifting weights, and being outside fishing and hiking. Cooper writes, “I hope to embrace the coming years and enjoy the journey of my life before me!”
Gabriela Sanchez – University of Georgia
Gabriela writes, “My mother has inspired me to make sure I help my community in any way I can. With this being said, I hope to become a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and register Amigos Unidos, an organization I co-founded with my sister that offers free tutoring to ESL students, as a non-profit organization.”
Salaam Nahasi – Berea College
Salaam is an avid music and cultural learner, with a deep appreciation for the traditions and languages of others. Salaam writes, “I am inspired by recognizing the potential humanity could hold in the future and upholding an open mind to the study of technology with its various social, cultural, and ethical impacts. I hold a strong standing in advocating for the rights of others, and hope to further this through studying computer science and law in college.”
Bryson Ellis – UNC Chapel Hill
Bryson is driven by a strong work ethic as well as a passion for inspiring others to achieve their goals. Born prematurely and with developmental issues along the way, Bryson has not only overcome each hurdle, but he has also ensured those born into similar circumstances are as cared for as he was. Bryson started Brilliant Baby Blankets to raise funds for premature babies.
Jules Oringel – UNC Chapel Hill
From the tragic loss of a dear friend during the Parkland High School shootings, Jules was inspired by the young leaders emerging across the country, deciding to Stand Up by starting her own 501(c)3 in 2018. Since its founding, Return Home Supplies Jules has engaged with over 30,000 individuals across the country and raised thousands of dollars to support gun violence safety programs, advocate for safe schools and offices, and educate and empower the next generation of peace leaders.
Nolan McMillen – Mars Hill University
He plans to pursue a degree in Sports Management. Nolan is a three-sport athlete and has found a way to parlay his passion for athletics into a tool for leadership, development, and mentorship.
Early in his soccer career, Nolan had his eyes opened to the reality of racism, specifically towards his Hispanic teammates. As a young leader, Nolan immersed himself the Spanish culture by Listening To Learn the Spanish language, Doing What’s Right by his friends and team mates, and Caring Like Family by bridging the culture gap in his own community and across the school’s conference.
Abigail Yoon – Harvard University
Abigail says, "I am inspired to disrupt the status quo in an area resistant to change every day, advocating for diversity and inclusion along with a commitment to anti-racism in my school and challenging society's comfort with many injustices.”
Mitchell Swicegood – North Carolina State University
Mitchell is attending NC State with a double major in Paper Science Engineering and Chemical Engineering. He is inspired by a desire to explore and learn new things. Mitchell loves to travel and is looking forward to new adventures.
Nia Dancy – Hampton University
Nia is passionate about ensuring equitable access to great education for all children; especially those who face economic hardships. She looks forward to addressing this need through academic research and community service with peers as a student at Hampton University.
One of two unanimous choices by our Scholarship Selection Committee. After struggling and ultimately succeeding in becoming the person and gender he identifies with, Anthony stands-up for others as they face similar struggles while affirming their identities. Ultimately, Anthony realized it wasn’t just about becoming comfortable with himself but also changing how the system restricts future youth from doing the same.
In response to two fellow students posting a racially-charged rant on social media (this made national news), Cam choose not to fight back, but to educate. He recruited friends and began a school organization that serves as a safe place to share frustrations and fears. “The United Youth of Excellence was established by us, for us, the students of color at Northwest Guilford High School, in response to the racial climate in our community.”
One of two unanimous choices by our Scholarship Selection Committee, Sara stood up for a friend she met at Jr. ROTC (her name is Sarah) and her brother Jacob. After learning that Sarah and Jacob were raised by an abusive mother and estranged father, Sara worked with her family to figure out a way to foster Sarah, Jacob and their cat. Thus, removing them from a history of dangerous situations and establishing a safe, loving home for them.
Jason not only stood up for his cousin after he was bullied simply for looking different (his cousin lives with Falcone Anemia which causes deformities in bone structures) he sought out continual time to meet with his cousin and to council him. Additionally, he confronted the bullies after witnessing the incident. Jason knew these children were too young to understand the impact of their actions and therefore educated them on how our words have long-lasting impact on others.