Back-to-school season is officially here, which means that scholarships are being awarded as many students begin the next academic year. This year, over $300,000 was awarded from scholarship funds at Centre Foundation to 210 local students attending 55 post-secondary institutions. These funds reflect the people and interests that matter most to the donors who established them.

Centre Foundation is home to more than 150 scholarship funds that represent a wide range of passions. Some are designated for student-athletes who demonstrate a love for the sport they play, some benefit children and grandchildren of veterans who served their country, and others provide support for those who are active in giving back to their community.

Two examples of scholarships that have made a difference to many local students are the Osaze’s Heart Community Service Scholarship and the Charles F. Brush Class of ‘84 Scholarship. Both scholarships were established to support students who have demonstrated a passion for helping others and who are pursuing post-secondary education.

Osaze’s Heart Community Service Scholarship was established in 2020 in memory of Osaze Osagie, whose life was tragically cut short when he was shot during a police response to his home in 2019. Osaze was a graduate of State College Area High School who attended Penn State for two years. Throughout his life, he actively volunteered with many organizations working to make our community a better place.

This scholarship recognizes students who exemplify the same dedication and commitment to serving the community as Osaze. It is available to racially underrepresented high school seniors from State College Area High School who serve the community through volunteerism and are planning to attend a post-secondary school. The inaugural scholarship was awarded in 2022 to three students: Jashuan Green, Elana Laing, and Catherine Wang.

In 2023, this scholarship was awarded to Luis Aibel Otarola, who has been involved with a variety of local community service activities. At State High, he was involved with Cheer, Mini-THON, lacrosse, and the National Spanish Honor Society. Outside of school, he volunteered with organizations such as Toys for Tots, the State College Food Bank, and the Red Cross.

Osaze’s parents, Iyun and Sylvester Osagie, who established the scholarship and serve on its committee shared their thoughts in a statement about the importance of community service.

“Community service begins with a heart that can identify with plight of others and the courage to do something to make a difference,” they said. “In spite of the many financial and social challenges he and his family faced, Luis Otarola embodies Osaze’s spirit of caring through a giving heart. He has served the State College community and beyond sacrificially and we are proud of him.”

The Charles F. Brush Class of ’84 Scholarship was established with Centre Foundation in 2015 to support future graduates of Brush High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Members of the Brush High School Class of ’84 decided they wanted to create a scholarship, and when a search for a Cleveland-area organization ended unsatisfactorily, the scholarship committee moved the funds to Centre Foundation. The reason this scholarship is housed at the Foundation is because of one committee member, Marc McCann, who has made State College his home for over 25 years.

This scholarship is awarded to a senior from Brush High School who exhibits a passion for a particular field, has demonstrated a desire to help others, and is pursuing a post-secondary school.

In 2023, the Charles F. Brush Class of ’84 Scholarship was awarded to Ronisha Reed, who will be attending Xavier University for nursing this fall. She is dedicated to making a difference by serving her community through a career in healthcare.

The scholarship committee chose Ronisha because she demonstrates leadership and is dedicated to helping others. Marc shared further how she displayed the criteria of this scholarship in her everyday life.

“As captain of the girls’ soccer team, [Ronisha’s] dedication led the team to one of its most successful seasons in school history,” he said. “She volunteered at the Food Bank and with her church and was inspired to go into nursing by her grandmother. Her grandmother used a catchphrase that impacted Ronisha: ‘do it because you’ll regret it later.’ And now Ronisha is following her dream of becoming a nurse.”

These are two examples of the many scholarship funds that Centre Foundation manages to support young adults who are continuing their educational journeys. It is because of generous donors that the Foundation is able to provide scholarships to students who are working hard to further their academic careers and make the community a better place in the process.

High school seniors who are interested in Centre Foundation’s scholarships should contact their respective school districts to learn more.

For more information about this year’s scholarship results, read our press release here.

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