WILMINGTON — Art Brooks’ legacy as a community leader with a special interest in fostering the success of African American youth continues with the 2022 presentation of the college scholarships established in his name.
Jada K. Holley and Dayetonio “Tony” Wilens-Mabry are this year’s recipients of $1,000 Art Brooks/Hot Hoops Leadership and Citizenship Scholarships. The award was established in Brooks’ honor following his retirement in 2012 after 19 years as director of multicultural affairs at Wilmington College.
Persons in the community have contributed to the scholarship fund as a means of 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.
Wilens-Mabry graduated this year from Wilmington High School via Laurel Oaks’ program in digital art and design. He is an Eagle Scout and was involved in 4-H, track and cross country, and working with Rich’s Pool Service and The Connection.
He will attend Shawnee State University this fall in the school’s game design program.
“I applied for the Art Brooks Scholarship because of how much it would help me for the upcoming semester,” he said in expressing his appreciation for the support.
Holley graduated from Wilmington High School with a 4.3 grade point average as an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. She logged more than 100 hours of community service and was a member of WHS’ Academic Quiz Team for three years, a thrower on the track & field team and was elected Senior Prom Queen — all while maintaining a part-time job as a crew leader at Sonic in Xenia.
Holley will attend Ohio University in Athens as a chemistry major with a pre-med concentration. She aspires to become a surgical oncologist.
“It’s very important to me that I make a difference in cancer research as a tribute to my late grandmother,” she said. This summer, she worked full time as a patient care tech at Clinton Memorial Hospital, which she described as “an opportunity that allowed me to gain knowledge in the medical field.”
Holley expressed her appreciation for the scholarship and the role it plays in allowing her to keep growing as she starts a new chapter in her life.
“As a young African American female, it’s important I stand out and make a difference in the world by setting a positive example for other young black boys and girls,” she added. “The scholarship allows me to attend a strong pre-med school and sets me up on the right path to be attending a medical school in four years. Also, this will bring more diversity to the medical and STEM field, which is significant for other generations to see.”
Onward & upward
Previous scholarship recipients are enjoying successful careers, including Jaiden Williams Newbry, who graduated in 2018 from Wilmington College and is a wife, mother and full-time restorative conference facilitator for Wilmington City Schools, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty and a wedding coordinator. Cheyann McKee, a 2021 graduate of Wilmington College, was an admission representative at WC for the past year and recently returned to the social work field with the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Also, Sydni McGee Cobb, a 2019 graduate of Bowling Green State University as an English major who is now a wife, mother and production clerk at Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services in Cincinnati; Seth Murdock, a 2022 graduate of Robert Morris University with a major in biology who is employed as a microbiologist at Q Laboratories in Cincinnati; Jamaica Chapman, a 2020 graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, who is a trauma nurse in the Trauma Emergency Room at the University of Cincinnati Hospital.
The previous most recent recipients are Tiara Harris, a senior at Wilmington College majoring in visual communications/media production and minoring in music and media; and Tyreese Ford, who earned an associate degree in sports administration and expects to graduate in December with his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Cincinnati.
Support for our youths
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.”
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 — as it did for Jaiden, Jamaica, Cheyann, Sydni, Seth, Tyreese and Tiara — and now Tony and Jada.”
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.