KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Twenty-two freshmen were inducted into the elite Medallion Scholars program at Western Michigan University on Friday, Oct. 4.
Medallion Scholarships are the highest merit-based award WMU can bestow on an incoming first-time freshman. Valued at $60,000 each over four years, they constitute one of the larger merit-based awards in American higher education.
Some of this year's scholars received a WMU Presidential Medallion Scholarship, while others received awards that bear the names of their scholarships' donors or the individuals for whom the scholarships were established.
The students were selected after competing for the awards in the 36th annual Medallion Scholarship Program event held during two November and December sessions at WMU. Invitations to compete were based on a combination of high grade-point averages and ACT or SAT scores, and were extended to students who had applied to WMU by Nov. 1, 2018.
Medallion Scholarship competition
A total of 912 seniors from across Michigan and the United States participated in the 2018 competition. The daylong event included essay writing and a group problem-solving activity for the students as well as activities for their parents and families.
The 65 top-performing competitors returned to campus and were interviewed as finalists for the Medallion Scholarship, with 22 ultimately being selected to receive the honor. In addition to the $60,000 monetary award, Medallion Scholars become members of WMU's Lee Honors College. The college, one of the oldest honors programs in the nation, enhances the undergraduate learning experience by providing such benefits as smaller class sizes, individualized academic advising and a freshman mentoring program.
The finalists not awarded Medallion Scholarships were offered a President's Academic Excellence Scholarship valued at $25,000 over four years. All of the remaining competitors were, for the first time in the Medallion Scholarship Competition's history, offered at least a Bronco Merit Scholarship if they attend WMU. This award totals $10,000, with recipients receiving $2,500 annually over four years.
Makeup of award winners
This year's Medallion Scholars have a grade-point average of 4.25. Their scores average 30.44 on the ACT and 1353 on the SAT. The new class of scholars are scheduled to graduate during the 2022-23 academic year. Of the 22 inductees, 14 are from Michigan, six are from Illinois, one is from Missouri, and one is from Iowa. At least eight come from underrepresented minority and historically oppressed populations.
Medallion Scholars bios
Emma Belew, of Lake Zurich, Illinois, graduated from Lake Zurich Senior High School and plans to major in theatre. She was awarded WMU's Harold and Beulah McKee Medallion Scholarship. A talented high school performer, Belew has received numerous musician and theatre accolades, including her school's Dedication to Theatre award in 2015 and the All-District Musician honor in 2017. She has been active in the Drama Club, which recognized her as the technical-theatre workshop leader, and in the Concert Choir, which recognized her as women's chorale section leader. In January 2019, Belew participated in the Illinois All-State Theatre Production of "In the Heights" and was selected to be the assistant stage manager, one of the production's most demanding and rigorous positions. Her performance as Melody in Hans Christian Anderson's "Little Mermaid" received the Best Actress Award. She also received the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Lilith in "She Kills Monsters," a progressive role that stretched the limits of the program and that was a challenge socially and emotionally because of the LGBTQ+ community Lilith represents.
Belew also worked with K-12 students at local theatre companies through Cricket Theater, preparing them for various roles as actors and stage managers. As a parishioner and peer minister at St. Francis de Sales Parish, she volunteered at Sunday night dinners, the food pantry and during the Christmas season with gift drives. She also was chosen to help lead confirmation retreats for underclassmen. In addition, Belew has traveled abroad to France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Luxemburg.
Molly Boyle, of Byron Center, graduated from Byron Center High School and plans to pursue an occupational therapy degree. She was awarded WMU's Alvin Frays Endowed Medallion Scholarship. Boyle was an active member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year of high school. As a volleyball player, she earned a place on team All-State Academic teams the past three years and on an individual All-State Academic team her senior year. She also served as a member of a wide variety of high school organizations, including as co-leader of the Debate Club, Spanish Club, Vocal Expressions and Byron Center P.R.I.D.E. Club, an academic club that helps students strive for greatness. With the P.R.I.D.E. Club, Boyle achieved the highest level of membership. In addition, she was the sole representative from Byron Center High School to represent the school as a MYLead representative at a regional conference on leadership and citizenship.
In the area of fine arts, Boyle participated in numerous school productions, such as "The Little Mermaid"; "Shrek"; and the "Wizard of Oz," in which she played the Wicked Witch of the West. She has volunteered with the Byron Center Fine Arts Boosters for the last seven years, with responsibilities including set-up and tear-down for various community events and working concessions. During the winter, she also volunteered to coach fourth, fifth and six graders in volleyball. In addition, Boyle spent two weeks in Spain studying high school Spanish abroad.
Ian Cummisford, of Grayslake, Illinois, graduated from Grayslake Central High School and plans to major in theatre. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. As an avid performer, Cummisford was featured in the Illinois All-State Musical cast and earned Illinois High School Association Drama All-Sectional Honors and the Grayslake Central High School Outstanding Featured Actor award. In addition to being cast in all shows, he served on the electrics crew and helped with construction. Cummisford most recently served as special effects crew head for the "Les Mis" production and was featured in his school's honors I wind ensemble and drumline, in which he played percussion during the marching and indoor concert seasons. Cummisford was inducted into the Honor Thespian Troupe and National Honor Society.
He has used his passion for theatre to volunteer with various organizations, helping with stage lighting at the Citadel Theatre. Cummisford also volunteered as a flood navigator with the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois to help connect families with local organizations after a post-flood event, and participated in Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat, a local high school event sponsored by the theatre group, through which he collected donations for local food pantries. Additional volunteer activities included serving as a course marshal for Matt's Mile 5K race for the 12 Oaks Foundation, dressing as a frog as entertainment during the RE/MAX Egg Hunt, helping with Fourth of July and Halloween events for the Prairie Crossing Homeowners Association, and installing new flooring in a community fitness center. In June 2018, Cummisford studied in Athens, Greece and the Greek Islands.
Ashley Dittmar, of Birch Run, graduated from Birch Run High School and plans to major in biomedical sciences. She was awarded WMU's Merze Tate Endowed Medallion Scholarship. Dittmar was a member of the National Honor Society, and was recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar, Outstanding Junior, and Most Valuable Speaker in forensics. In addition to these honors, she was a recipient of the Leadership Award and the Captain's Award, both in cross country. Dittmar served her high school as president of the Psychology Club, treasurer of the History Club, a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance and a member of the Forensics Team.
As a scholar-athlete, she also participated on the track and soccer teams, and was captain of both the powerlifting and cross country teams. For community engagement, Dittmar spent numerous hours helping with Special Olympics events as well as volunteering at various other sporting events and middle school lock-ins. She also runs a popular Instagram account that has more than 114,000 followers and tackles feminist issues, women's health and women's reproductive rights.
Rowan Edmonds, of Oxford, graduated from Oxford High School and plans to major in paper engineering. She was awarded WMU's Paper Technology Foundation Medallion Scholarship. A member of the Health Occupations Students of America, Edmonds competed in a self-led learning experience as an emergency medical technician and qualified for the state competition. During her second year, she competed in medical math and advanced to the state competition. She also served as co-captain of the marching band color guard, leading more than 25 members, and participated in junior varsity and varsity tennis. Edmonds has studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico, where she completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in May. She is the recipient of the Personal Project Award for completing an IB project in which she taught herself German using an app called Duolingo.
Edmonds has a passion for home improvement and has volunteered with her high school's home improvement program to repair and rebuild local homes. She has also volunteered with children in a mock doctor experience; at a local fire station, where she supervised children while all of the firefighters and paramedics did their set jobs; and at various fundraisers for her school and its teams, such as working the concession stand and passing out flyers. In addition to these forms of community service, Edmonds was also a member of the Girl Scouts of America, through which she was involved with conducting bottle drives, helping a local food bank, making decorations for the holidays and holding bake sales.
Jake Fanizza, of Lake Villa, Illinois, graduated from Warren Township High School and plans to major in biomedical sciences. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. Fanizza was named a 2019 Illinois State Scholar, a designation offered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission that recognizes "the best and brightest of Illinois high school seniors." Also this year, he was chosen for the Senior Superlative for Nicest Person Award by peers and the Yearbook Club from more than 1,000 seniors at his high school. As a scholar-athlete in lacrosse, he received the All-Academic and Scholastic Achievement awards that honor varsity athletes with high scholastic achievement. Fanizza was a member of the National Honor Society, a Blue Crew student spirit leader and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
For community engagement, he served as a Northern Illinois Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Teen Court attorney and juror. The court program helps troubled peers who have committed minor offenses improve their self-esteem, decision-making and overall lives. Fanizza is considered as a leader in teen court for consistently volunteering for the most important roles, such as lawyer and clerk. He is a licensed pharmacy technician and has worked with Midwestern University's Careers in Pharmacy program, through which he gained hands-on experience observing the responsibilities of a licensed retail pharmacist and other related professions.
Katie Garber, of Dearborn, graduated from Dearborn High School and is undecided about a major. She was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. As a talented performer, Garber received multiple PAGE/DATA awards, including two for Best Featured Actress in a Play. The awards, which resemble the Tony Awards, go to performers in the Dearborn area. Garber, who served as the dance captain at her local high school, has also earned multiple Michigan State Thespian Festival awards, including superior ratings in both duo and solo dance. She was a member of the National Honor Society, and also ranked second in the engineering category of the Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology Science Fair, qualifying for the state science fair.
Garber's numerous volunteer experiences have included serving for two years as music leader for vacation Bible school. In addition, she has performed for three years in "Breakfast in Bethlehem," an event that also allowed her to teach children the story of the first Christmas; snapped, printed and delivered pictures from Santa for the Dearborn Rotary Club; packed meals for underprivileged area students for Blessings in a Backpack; and tutored students in subjects such as science, math and language arts for the Dearborn Heights Rotary Club. One cause that is near and dear to her heart is the Dearborn Area Theatre Association, an organization that promotes theatre in both the community and educational system. Her passion is to use the performing arts to enhance creativity and academic achievement.
Madison Jonkman, of Plainwell, graduated from Plainwell High School and plans to major in finance. She was awarded WMU's Alvin Frays Endowed Medallion Scholarship. Jonkman was recognized for remaining on the honor roll with a 3.5+ GPA for all four years. During high school, she also served as a staff writer for her school's newspaper.
As a scholar-athlete, Jonkman played basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis. She was also an active member of the 4-H Club, which she served as vice president for one year. As an active member of her high school's Equestrian Club, she organized all practices and competitions. Additionally, Jonkman was a member of the National Honor Society, school newspaper and Interact Club, which organizes fundraisers for the school and local community. She has a passion for horses, and most recently worked on a 400-acre horse farm, where she cared for and exercised horses. Before that, she worked at Harvest Moon Acres staffing corn mazes and concessions.
Madeline Kastel, of Aurora, Illinois, graduated from Oswego East High School and plans to major in business. She was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. Since her sophomore year, Kastel participated on the Science Olympiad team. Her experiment design event placed first during her sophomore year, and her experiment designs placed at various regional competitions throughout high school. Kastel also served as a member of the Scholastic Bowl team, as well as numerous honor societies, including the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), Science National Honor Society and Rho Kappa (social studies honor society). She has been an active member of Science Olympiad, a team that competes in over 20 different competitions in areas of lab, testing and building events.
As an Illinois State Scholar, Kastel was recognized statewide for demonstrating superior academic potential. In addition to this honor, she was recognized as an Advanced Placement Scholar and Wendy's High School Heisman-School Winner, an award given to high school athletes who have been proven leaders and role models. She received her varsity letter in soccer and served her team as captain her junior and senior years. In soccer, Kastel earned first and second Presidents Cup quarterfinal and semifinal berths, and a first final berth.
Emily Kostbade, of Ada, graduated from Forest Hills Central High School and is undecided about a major. She was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. As both a National Merit Commended Scholar and National Hispanic Scholar, Kostbade was recognized for her high PSAT score in 2018. She has also been on the Forest Hills Central High School Honor Roll for the past four years.
Kostbade was a member of the National Honor Society, marching band, varsity bowling team and Forest Hills Central High School Book Club. An alto saxophone player, she also was a member of the Forest Hills Central High School Wind Ensemble, her school's highest-level band. For volunteer experience, she has worked actively with the Kent District Library Teen Program, a program that organizes library-sponsored events. In 2016, Kostbade traveled abroad to Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic, where she studied Spanish.
Sophia Louden, of East Lansing, graduated from East Lansing High School and plans to major in chemical engineering. She was awarded WMU's Professor Emily P. and Richard A. Hoffman Endowed Medallion Scholarship. Receiving the Distinguished Scholar Award for three years in a row, Louden was recognized for maintaining a GPA over 3.7. She also received Bronze, Silver and Gold awards from the Girl Scouts of America and has been recognized with the Solo, Ensemble and Drum Major awards in band.
In addition to band, she was a member of the Senior Dance Company at Elizabeth Williams Dance Company and was a featured dancer and chorus member of "High School Musical." Along with participating in the performing arts, Louden was a member of the junior varsity golf team. She also served in multiple leadership positions, including as student congress vice president, junior class president and student body historian. For community service, she volunteered on numerous occasions at her local church and in her local dance studio. In 2018, Louden was elected to the East Lansing High School Homecoming Court by the student body.
Jalen Pearson, of Detroit, graduated from Cass Technical High School and plans to major in creative writing and Japanese studies. He was awarded WMU's Dwight B. Waldo Endowed Medallion Scholarship. A member of the National Honor Society, Pearson received the 2015 Presidential Scholar Award and subsequently earned honor roll awards all four years for academic achievement. He competed in several academic games competitions at the local and state levels. He has also received an excellence in teaching assistance award from Math Corps, an excellence in agriculture award from the Grow Detroit Youth Program, a leadership award from Oakland University's summer business camp and an award for activism from We the People of Detroit.
Pearson has also served as a member of the Mosaic Youth Theater, the Detroit Improv Project, the Japanese Cultural Society and BuildOn, which he served as an officer for two years. Most of his community engagement stems from involvement with BuildOn and the National Honor Society. With both organizations, Pearson has performed a variety of services for events including Open Streets, Tour de Troit and the Halloween Run. He also tutored freshmen twice a month through the National Honor Society. Pearson has studied abroad in both Canada and Japan, where he developed interests in Japanese anime.
Callie Pilkington, of Grosse Ile Township, graduated from Gross Ile High School and plans to major in aerospace engineering. She was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. A member of the robotics team, Pilkington competed in six competitions, winning the FIRST safety award four times, the FIRST imagery award twice and the Excellence in Engineering award once. She previously served as a member of the Gross Ile High School Science Olympiad/Science Club and recently participated in the 2019 Science Olympiad competition.
Pilkington was also a member of the National Honor Society, through which she completed more than 110 hours of service. Specific projects completed include working with the American Association of University Women to spread awareness among middle school girls of women in science, technology, engineering and math fields; presenting her robotics team robots to elementary students at a local STEM night; and weaving plastic bags together with citizens in her township to make sleeping bags for the homeless. In addition to these activities, Pilkington also participated in the Dearborn Youth Symphony Orchestra and was a member of her high school's varsity softball team.
Orion Rahjes of Clive, Iowa, graduated from Waukee Community High School and is undecided about a major. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. A recipient of numerous awards, Rahjes was selected as one of three students to represent his school at the statewide art competition, where his piece earned the highest rating, Distinguished. He was previously named, "Outstanding Vocal Jazz Soloist" at the Morningside Jazz festival, and his pieces of art have been featured at various local festivals. He was accepted to perform with the elite variety show choir numerous times and placed in the top five on many occasions. Previously, Rahjes performed at the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Des Moines Civic Center in front of a crowd of thousands. His high school's production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" earned Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Ensemble. Most recently, Rahjes traveled abroad to perform select songs in historical venues across Europe.
For academic achievement, he lettered in academics for maintaining a high GPA for all four terms of the school year. In his senior year of high school, he was accepted into the Student Leadership Council, an advocacy group run by Iowa Safe Schools in which LBGTQ community students meet with advisors to discuss ways to improve the lives of LBGTQ students. In addition, Rahjes founded and serves as executive leader of the Waukee Caroline Fundraiser, a group that sings holiday carols at various businesses around Des Moines, Iowa, to raise money for choir students in financial need.
Grace Rasche, of Saint Louis, Missouri, graduated from Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and is undecided about a major. She was awarded WMU's Merze Tate Endowed Medallion Scholarship. While in high school, Rasche served as the historian for her local Thespian Troupe #3189 since 2016. Since 2018, she expanded her role to serve as the community outreach chairperson. She was also a member of the International Honor Society and the National Honor Society and served the latter organization as parliamentarian.
Rasche's passion for children is reflective of her participation with the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference, a conference held to educate teachers about new ways to implement technology in the classroom. As a recipient of multiple Teacher's Choice Outstanding Teaching Awards and Missouri Department of Education End of Course high score awards, Rasche's accomplishments closely align with her interests in education. Most recently, she served as an intern for the technology department at her local high school to offer technical assistance to students and teachers. In addition to these community service experiences, she also volunteered at Metro Theater Company Creative Arts Camp as a junior apprentice and ran child care at various local events.
Chase Rosengarten, of Novi, graduated from Novi High school and plans to major in nursing with the goal of earning a registered nurse license. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. A competitive Irish dancer since second grade, Rosengarten has qualified for the world championship seven times, the North American championship nine times and at regional championships 10 times. He has used his talent for Irish dancing as a private instructor, offering lessons to younger students. He has also served as both orchestra master and orchestra representative in the high school orchestra.
Rosengarten received the Outstanding Character Award and Most Valuable Player/Hardest Worker Award in his high school orchestra program. He has also competed in multiple math competitions and recently represented Novi High School in the geometry section of the competition. Most recently, he served as the Link Crew leader at his school to assist incoming freshmen and students new to the district with adjusting to high school, creating lasting friendships and creating a stronger sense of belonging. Rosengarten previously participated in local charity events and volunteered at multiple elementary school events in his school district.
Adam Steiner, of Troy, graduated from Athens High School and plans to major in aerospace engineering. He was awarded WMU's M. Jamie Jeremy Medallion Scholarship. During his junior year, Steiner competed in the Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union's marketing competition, in which he created a proposal to advertise and recruit new members for its student credit card. Overall, he and his team placed second in the competition. Additionally, he has placed second at regionals and third at the state level in various competitions. Because of his love for engineering, he participated in Destination Imaginations. His team placed in the top five, and Steiner also qualified for the global finals, which is the highest level of competition for the acting and engineering section. In 2018, he earned a perfect score on both the Advanced Placement Macro and Micro Economics exams, and was recognized with the distinction of Scholar Athlete for Lacrosse.
Steiner is also certified in first aid and CPR and has volunteered for more than 30 hours per week assisting student-athletes with injuries. For the past two years, he has volunteered over 800 hours as an assistant athletic trainer. He helped the professional trainer with activities such as taping up ankles, knees and wrists before practices and games and standing on the sidelines during games aiding injured players with everything from cuts to broken legs and concussions. Steiner was also a member of the National Honor Society.
Stephan Jansen Van Vuuren
Stephan Jansen Van Vuuren, of Naperville, Illinois, graduated from Naperville North High School and plans to major in aviation flight science. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship. Van Vuuren participated in the National German Exam, in which he scored in the top 2% nationally in one of his previous competitions. He also competed in the Fluid Power Challenge that was hosted by the National Fluid Power Association. This challenge required students to create structures out of simple building materials and fluid/pneumatic power sources like syringes to perform tasks.
As a member of the Boy Scouts of America, Van Vuuren's leadership was recognized through his attainment of roles such as quartermaster and patrol leader and culminated in his earning the Eagle Scout Award in 2018. Van Vuuren was also an active member of his high school marching band as a section elder. In addition, he was a member of the German Club and received the American Association of German Teachers Gold Award, the German Exam American Association of German Teachers Silver Award and the German Foreign Language Award, each for exemplary performances in German studies. Born in South Africa, Van Vuuren has studied and traveled abroad, most recently in Germany, where he participated in a high school foreign exchange program.
Jordan Walker, of Normal, Illinois, graduated from Community West High School. He was awarded WMU's Presidential Medallion Scholarship and plans to major in electrical engineering. A scholar-athlete, Walker will play varsity soccer for WMU. As a scholar-athlete, he has received multiple state honors, including multiple Big 12 Illinois All-Conference Academic Awards, the Illinois All-State Award for best soccer athletes in the state, the Pantagraph Soccer Player of the Year Award for the best soccer player in Illinois' Bloomington-Normal area, and the Normal West Team MVP.
Walker has also competed in various science, technology, engineering and math competitions, including the Illinois Science & Technology Institute STEM Challenge, in which he and his group moved on to the final stage of the challenge to present an innovative idea in front of big-business executives from companies such as State Farm. He has also served as a member of multiple national honor societies in English and math and in a variety of leadership positions. Most recently, Walker served as a freshman mentoring program advisor, leading activities and providing academic and social support to freshmen. He has also volunteered with a variety of community organizations and service clubs, including volunteering at the local food bank. In June 2018, Walker studied abroad in Jamaica and was featured on National Public Radio sharing his experiences of this trip.
Noura Warsi, of Portage, graduated from Portage Central High School and plans to major in nursing with the goal of earning a registered nurse license. She was awarded WMU's Merze Tate Endowed Medallion Scholarship. A member of the National Honor Society, Warsi most recently served as her chapter's president. She has also served as a teacher's aide at WMU's Math and Science camp, and has earned three medals for academic achievement at Portage Central. Warsi was also a member of Portage Central's women's tennis team, and has traveled abroad to Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Canada.
Additional leadership activities include leading and participating in religious knowledge competitions within the Muslim community. Recent volunteer experiences include tutoring Syrian refugees, serving as a caretaker at the Kalamazoo Drop-in Child Daycare Center, volunteering as a food pantry assistant at Loaves & Fishes, making dresses for Little Dresses for Africa, serving as a Curious Kids teacher assistant, providing group meal preparation at the Rickman House, serving as a nursing home volunteer visitor, and participating in Habitat for Humanity as home building volunteer.
Madeline Yorke, of Battle Creek, graduated from Lakeview High school, and plans to major in biological sciences. She was awarded WMU's Roy and Beulah Kendall Endowed Medallion Scholarship. A member of the National Honor Society, Yorke has also served with student government, where the main focus was to coordinate school events and advise changes in school policies. She has also tutored at Lakeview High School, where she assisted underclassmen in a variety of subjects.
As an Advanced Placement Scholar, she has also competed at a variety of science and engineering competitions, and also was awarded the Student of the Month for math excellence at the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center. As a scholar-athlete, Yorke was named to an individual All-State Academic team in varsity golf for earning a high ACT and GPA score. In addition, she received the Four-Year Varsity Golf Award for playing golf all four years of high school, as well as the Callaway Junior Tour Women's Sportsmanship Award for modeling good sportsmanship during tournaments and competitions. Most recently, she participated in Link Crew, spending time with incoming freshmen and assisting them with the transition to high school. Yorke has also volunteered previously at the First Tee of Battle Creek, where she coached youth in both golfing and core values used in life, such as honesty and responsibility. Additional community service activities include scorekeeping at local hockey events and volunteering at the Catholic Heart Work Camp.
Joe Zynda, of Shelby Township, graduated from De La Salle Collegiate High School and plans to major in aviation flight science. He was awarded WMU's Emeriti Medallion Scholarship. As a scholar-athlete, Zynda qualified for the state competition as a member of his school's powerlifting team, which he served as team captain. He also qualified for the state competition in the shot put and discus, earning the distinctions as both an All-State D-1 Discus thrower and All-State D-1 Academic Discus thrower. Zynda also served in a variety of leadership roles at his high school, including as spirit week coordinator and student activities coordinator.
In addition to those leadership roles, he was most recently selected by his high school to serve as a squadron leader, a leader chosen by teachers and coaches to oversee 120 students from each grade, assisting with academics, social concerns and school activities. He was also tasked with bringing new students into the brotherhood of De La Salle. Other recent community service activities included collecting donations for a variety of local charities and working with football summer camps to support inner city youth, all while maintaining a job as a site organizer for local construction and landscaping companies.
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