By Dedra Cordle
For seven decades, the Hilltop Kiwanis Club has awarded two and four-year scholarships to seniors attending high schools on the Westside to help them fulfill their dreams at the collegiate level.
The scholarship ceremony, which typically is held in late April, is considered a favored event for those involved in the Hilltop Kiwanis Club.
“It is a highlight for our club, for sure,” said Paul Pennell, president of the scholarship foundation.
He said not only is it wonderful to know that there is so much support for this annual event within the community, but it was a true blessing to meet the students who are receiving the scholarships.
“They have always represented the very best of our community,” he said.
Pennell added that those receiving the scholarships this year are no different.
“These are some truly fine students and people,” he said.
Those receiving the scholarships are Ian Binns and Ramon Rivera-Romero from Bishop Ready, James Cheney and Liezel Douglas from Briggs and Fernando Natividad and Courtney Mullins from West High School.
Jeri Rod, the assistant principal at Bishop Ready, praised Binns and Rivera-Romero for their outstanding work ethic and their high quality character.
“You couldn’t ask for better gentlemen to have in our building,” she said at the April 27 luncheon.
She said both Binns and Rivera-Romero are incredibly active in school clubs and activities and also have a passion for volunteerism.
“They are remarkable young men,” she said.
Binns, who is receiving a four-year scholarship through the foundation, has said he will attend The Ohio State University this fall and plans to major in molecular genetics so he can find a cure for chronic diseases. Rivera-Romero, who is receiving a two-year scholarship, says he is undecided on a college right now, but intents to major in zoology or biology. He plans to become a veterinarian because of his love for animals.
Natalie Billingsley, the guidance counselor at Briggs High School, praised Chaney and Douglas for the example they have set for the students.
“They both have such a strong work ethic,” she said.
She went on to compliment Chaney for his vibrant personality and Douglas for her compassion for others.
Chaney is receiving a four-year scholarship through the foundation and plans to attend Tiffin University and major in history. Douglas, who is receiving a two-year scholarship, said she is undecided on a college right now, but wants to work for a human rights organization in the near future.
Erica Kennedy, the guidance counselor at West, said Mullins and Natividad were exemplary students and people.
“Courtney is such a smart individual who loves school, studying and giving back to others,” she said.
“Alex (as Fernando is also called) is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet,” she added.
She also praised Natividad for his dedication to his family and community.
Mullins, who is receiving a two-year scholarship, said she plans to attend The Ohio State University and major in biomedical engineering. Natividad, who is receiving the four-year scholarship through the foundation, said he plans to attend Otterbein and major in either business management or mathematics.
Pennell said he knows that these students have a bright future ahead of them and has every confidence that they will continue to shining examples of the west side community.