Waynedale Political Commentaries


At the Wayne Township Trustee Board Meeting held at our office in downtown Fort Wayne on July 14 we awarded Recognizing Achievement Scholarships to six 2015 high school graduates who will be attending institutions of higher learning later this fall. Here are their stories.

Desmon Davis plans to become a teacher, a dream he has had since the sixth grade. During Desmon’s junior year at Snider High School his father passed away, but Desmon overcame this adversity and continued his studies, his football and his work as a community volunteer with Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. He graduated from Snider this past June, and he will be entering the Education Foundation program at Trine University this fall.

Shampree Hilliard graduated this year from South Side High School and will be studying in the fall at IPFW. During her senior year she earned all A’s and B’s while also being on the volleyball team and volunteering for several food drives and pantries, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen and Community Harvest Food Bank. She is planning to study for work with the police force.

Helena James graduated from Wayne High School in the top 2% of her class with an A+ average. Her teacher’s reference letter highlighted her energy and ambition. She has been involved in the Upward Bound program where she worked with mentors from a variety of careers, and she is looking forward to studying law after earning her undergraduate degree.

During Sylvia Ochoa’s high school career she has been in the Twenty-first Century Scholar program and in competition on the gymnastics team. Despite the setback of losing her mother earlier this year, Sylvia graduated from Northrop High School and is already about to finish CNA certification that will enable her to support herself during college. She plans to become an entrepreneur one day.

Savanna Toporek graduated this May from Bishop Luers High School and will be studying Spanish and International Business at the University of Cincinnati in the fall. Last summer Savanna was chosen out of several hundred high school students to study Spanish in a total-immersion program in Chile, South America. She wants to someday have her own not-for-profit business helping people in South America who are living in poverty.

DeJour Young also studied Spanish as her foreign language. She recently graduated from Concordia Lutheran High School. She is a talented athlete who played on several of Concordia’s sports teams. She has been closely involved in working with and caring for her brother who was born with Down’s Syndrome. This has inspired her to study pre-medicine in her college classes at IPFW.

I am so heartened by the stories of these young scholars and happy to be able to reward their accomplishments with the Recognizing Achievement Scholarship. I really believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in our society. This is the third year for the RAS program at Wayne Township. So far we have helped fifteen students with money they can use toward their college educations, all without tax dollars but using donations raised year-round, starting at our Holiday Celebration in December at Waynedale’s Roller Dome South.

Please join me in congratulating our 2015 scholarship winners.

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Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer