Fouse Award winners, pictured left to right, are Margaret Mehlo, Andrea Zippay and Leah Gaus.
Westerville’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration was held on Monday, January 18, during which time the 2016 Fouse Award recipients were honored. Fouse awards, named after William H. Fouse, Westerville’s first black high school graduate, are given to area K-12 students who most effectively exemplify the characteristics demonstrated by Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s winners were Leah Gaus, Westerville North High School; Andrea Zippay, Westerville Central High School; and Margaret Mehlo, Hawthorne Elementary.
Gaus was nominated by North’s assistant principal Stephanie McGeorge, who explained that she is “highly active in our school and community in an effort to bring awareness, support and understanding of cultural differences.” Gaus is a member of the Warrior Way Leadership Academy and is president of North’s Gay Straight Alliance group.
Zippay was nominated by her principal, Todd Spinner, who described the senior as someone who “wants everyone to realize that our differences do not define who we are.” She performed at last year’s Black History month assemblies, where she expressed her philosophy that mirrors Dr. King’s - “race knows no color.”
Mehlo, a fifth grader, was nominated by her teacher, Ann Genuisz, as well as Hawthorne Elementary School’s assistant principal Jill Carfagna. She has often demonstrated her care and concern for other students, especially when she notified the staff of a recent injustice being brought upon another child. Mehlo embraces the varied cultures of students at Hawthorne and delights in explaining her culture as well.
Alston Awards, named after Miriam Alston, who freed nine slaves after “inheriting” them, are given to Westerville business or community members who most effectively exemplify the characteristics demonstrated by Dr. King. This year’s recipients were Linda Jakes, of Concord Counseling Services, and Jessica Hollins, who founded My Very Own Blanket. Keynote speaker was Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White.