WILMINGTON — Art Brooks’ legacy as a community leader with a special interest in helping African American youth succeed is alive and well as the two 2018-19 recipients of the scholarship established in his name are ready to start their freshmen years in college.
They are 2018 Wilmington High School graduates Seth Murdoch and Tyreese Ford. Murdock is entering Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh majoring in biomedical engineering while Ford is a freshman in the University of Cincinnati ‘s pre-business program.
Each received 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.
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 in college.
Both Murdock and Ford have known Brooks throughout their lives as a caring community leader interested in helping local youth become the best version of themselves.
They will follow in the footsteps of previous Brooks Scholarship recipients who have and are excelling in their higher education pursuits.
Those include Jaiden Williams, the first award recipient, who graduated from WC in May; Jamaica Chapman, now a junior in the nursing program at the University of Cincinnati; Cheyann McKee, a junior criminal justice/psychology major at Wilmington College; and Sydni McGee, a senior studying English at Bowling Green State University.
Chapman, who has a 3.7 grade point average (GPA), belongs to two honor societies at UC, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Lambda Delta. She founded a nonprofit organization, known as Black in White, for African Americans engaged in medical majors.
Her organization has grown to include a freshman-tutoring program, sponsoring black medical speakers each month, community service and other educational programs.
She credited persons like Brooks and Harvest of Gold’s Eleanor Harris with believing in her: “They were and still are some of the most influential people in my life,” Chapman said.
McKee, who has a 3.98 GPA after two years at WC, is a highly involved student, serving as vice president of Black Student Initiative and a member of the College Chorale. She holds campus jobs in Conference Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and this fall plans to work with The Wilmington Fund.
“Aside from receiving support, the Art Brooks Scholarship is significant to me because it’s a promotion of higher education particularly in the African American community,” she said, noting that, statistically, that demographic is less likely than the general population to pursue higher education.
“The Art Brooks Scholarship not only provides financial support and encourages youth, it also serves to equalize educational opportunities, and that is essential to the success of our community.”
McGee is also a Dean’s List student. She handles public relations for Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society at BGSU. This summer, she worked in community development as a member of the Clinton County Fellows program. She recalls Brooks as a positive presence all through her life.
“He’s always been my ‘Uncle Art’ and I have countless memories of getting ice cream and spending time with him,” she said. “He has supported me through all my schooling and extracurricular activities, and he continues to give me words of encouragement and love as I face new journeys in my life.
“Receiving this scholarship has showed me how supportive my community is and just how much they want me to succeed,” she added. “I hope one day I can give back to my community the same way it has supported me.”
Local attorney Bill 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 — like it did for Jaiden, Jamaica, Cheyann and Sydni, and will for Seth and Tyreese.”
Persons interested in contributing to the scholarship fund can send their gift to: Harvest of Gold, Art Brooks Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1061, Wilmington, OH 45177.