The WPCU Sunshine Community Fund is pleased to announce this year's recipients of the Douglas A. Fecher Excellence in Learning Scholarship.
The following individuals have demonstrated strong leadership qualities, a commitment to academic performance, and a willingness to improve through higher education. Each recipient embodies the spirit of the scholarship program, which seeks to empower students to positively impact their communities and the people around them.
Robert K. attends the University of Cincinnati focusing his efforts on the Sports Administration Program. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in athletics and eventually become a sports director for a municipality or school district.
While at Dayton Dunbar High School, Robert was very active in extracurricular activities including football, basketball, and soccer. His love of athletics grew during this time because of its power to change lives for the better.
Robert devotes a great deal of his time to academic course work but still manages to volunteer for area nonprofits. His time working with children through Wayne Pee Wee Football and Dayton Airmen Basketball have been some of the most rewarding experiences, “I decided to have a career in sports just to see the smiles on the kids' faces."
In addition, Robert volunteers his time at campus athletic events in various capacities during the school year. His involvement in the inaugural Basketball All-Star Showcase, a joint venture between Cincinnati Public Schools and the University of Cincinnati, helped raise 10 thousand dollars for Project Connect, which works with homeless students in the area.
The 2021-2022 school year saw Robert become an integral part of the Wayne High School Athletic Department as an intern. “We have intentionally given him a number of different duties throughout the year. He has adapted well and proven to be a humble, hard worker," remarked Nate Baker, Wayne High School Athletic Director.
Ahliya W. is a recent graduate of Archbishop Alter High School. In addition to achieving an impressive academic record, Ahliya was an active member in her high school's cheerleading squad and competitive dance team.
Her current extracurricular activities include German Club, Dare to Care, Key Club, and Know Your Worth Club. These activities provide Ahliya the opportunity to volunteer, “There are so many volunteer opportunities and I just love participating because it makes me happy having the chance to help others," she states.
Outside of school, Ahliya takes it upon herself to assist those in her community in need of a helping hand. A recent example of this came in the wake of the 2019 tornado outbreak that ravaged Dayton and surrounding neighborhoods. “My family and I decided to make boxes of sandwiches, water, chips, and toiletries. We went around the Trotwood area and distributed needed items to families," Ahliya explained. “It meant so much to us because we couldn't imagine what they were going through."
Ahliya will pursue an interior design career when she attends the University of Cincinnati this fall. With this scholarship opportunity, she is determined to be the first person from her family to graduate from college and said, “I want to show my family that we should never give up, we can accomplish anything if we have the right mindset."
Dezarae W. graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at Xenia High School. Her studies included 65 hours of College Credit Plus course work, which lead to her State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA) Certification and an Associate of Science Degree from Sinclair Community College. A member of the National Technical Honor Society, Dezarae was named to her district’s honor roll throughout high school.
Her rigorous academic work did not slow her down from holding down two jobs and participating in her school’s jazz band. She found time to assist teachers with various classroom tasks while helping underclassmen with their studies.
At an early age, Dezarae saw how volunteering made a real difference to people in need. She would often take the opportunity to help her mother assist charitable organizations in and around her community. Dezarae states, “I believe kindness goes a long way with people even when it is not given in return. It makes me feel good to know I made a difference in someone’s life.”
Dezarae will pursue her nursing degree when she attends Wright State University. She sees this scholarship opportunity as a way to reach her goals and create a better life for herself.