WILMINGTON — Art Brooks’ legacy as a community leader with a special interest in fostering the success of African American youth continues with the 2019 presentation of the college scholarship established in his name.
Tiara Harris of Wilmington is the latest recipient of a $1,000 Art Brooks Hot Hoops Leadership and Citizenship Scholarship. The award was established in Brooks’ honor following his retirement in 2012 after 19 years as director of multicultural affairs at Wilmington College.
Harris is a 2019 graduate of Wilmington High School/Laurel Oaks Career Campus, where she studied animal science management. She plans to continue her education this fall at Sinclair State Community College in the field of radiologic technology.
Persons in the community have contributed to the scholarship fund as a means for honoring Brooks’ longtime commitment to young people. The scholarship is awarded to former participants in Wilmington’s Hot Hoops program who also were active leaders as high school students and, now, show great promise as they enter college.
First awarded in 2014, the scholarship fund is in need of bolstering in order to continue providing financial assistance to young men and women wishing to further their education after high school.
For Harris, Brooks has been a family friend and positive presence throughout her entire life.
“I call him ‘Uncle Art’ and receiving the Art Brooks Scholarship means a lot to me because he means a lot to me,” she said. “I want to follow in his footsteps and try to be a positive force in the community.”
Several past scholarship recipients joined Harris in speaking about being part of the select group to have received the award.
Cheyann McKee, a 2017 recipient, is entering her senior year studying criminal justice and psychology at Wilmington College, where she is an honor student and highly engaged student leader.
“It’s been really impactful for me having such community support,” she said, noting it represents more to her than simply easing the financial burden of higher education. “They’ve invested in my future.”
Also on hand were scholarship recipients Seth Murdoch and Tyreese Ford. Murdock is entering his sophomore year at Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh majoring in biomedical engineering, while Ford is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati majoring in sports management.
“I’ve known Uncle Art all my life,” Murdock said. “Being on my own away at college, some of the stuff he told me over the years started to click — I really appreciate it.”
Ford added that, “College is expensive and I appreciate how this scholarship has benefited me.”
As the 2019 awardee, Harris will follow in the footsteps of previous Brooks Scholarship recipients who have excelled and are excelling in their higher education pursuits.
In addition to McKee, Murdock and Ford, they also include Jaiden Williams Newbry, the first award recipient, who graduated with a degree in business management from WC in May 2018; Sydni McGee, a 2019 graduate in English from Bowling Green State University; and Jamaica Chapman, now a senior in the nursing program at the University of Cincinnati.
Local attorney William Peelle is a longtime supporter of the Hot Hoops program and again this year chairs the scholarship’s fundraising drive.
“Art has dedicated his life to the education and mentoring of youth,” Peelle said. “He’s been an especially positive advocate for an at-risk population as a role model and effective leader. Many friends have contributed to the scholarship fund as a means for perpetuating Art’s significant impact.”
A love for youths
Eleanor Harris, executive director of Harvest of Gold, which administers the scholarship, praised Brooks as a “great asset” to the community.
“His love for our youth and especially his work with mentoring young African-American males will always be a reminder to them of someone who cares,” she said, noting that Brooks remains active in the community, continuing his positive influence upon local youth.
Brooks said, “It is a real honor” to have his name attached to the scholarship.
“I am very thankful to the Wilmington and Clinton County communities for their continuing support of our Hot Hoops program under the direction of Eleanor Harris,” Brooks said. “It is truly gratifying that this college scholarship will continue to assist our Hot Hoops participants — like it did for Jaiden, Jamaica, Cheyann, Sydni, Seth and Tyreese, and will for Tiara.”
Persons interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can send their gift to: Harvest of Gold, Art Brooks Hot Hoops Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1061, Wilmington, OH 45177.