Pictured with Westerville City Schools Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg are 2017 Fouse Award recipients Muheeb, Kendra and Afnan.
At Westerville’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Breakfast Celebration, held on Monday morning, January 16, three Westerville City Schools students received the prestigious Fouse Award – Afnan Salem, Westerville North High School; Kendra Asiedu, Westerville South High School; and Muheeb Hijazeen, Genoa Middle School. Fouse awards are bestowed to Westerville-area K-12 pupils who most effectively exemplify the characteristics demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They are named in honor of William H. Fouse, the first black high school graduate in Westerville, an educator who earned a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati and received an honorary doctorate from Otterbein College. His goal was to be a “bridge-builder for youth who will have to cross the broad, deep chasm of ignorance.”
Salem’s strong work ethic, devotion to community service and outgoing and friendly personality make her an example for her peers. Her family moved from Saudi Arabia to Turkey in 2008, and then to the United States in 2010. At that time, she had a limited background in English, but has since devoted herself to her studies with a rigorous course load. While academics are her priority, Salem has made time to work with the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation to tutor other teens and young adults who are learning math, English and driving skills. She also coordinates an annual food drive at Westerville North for OSU’s Star House, a shelter for homeless teens. In addition, she tutors younger students through World Relief Columbus. Salem is a Junior Mentor who also participated in the Global Scholars Program, the International Club and the Youth Government State Conference.
Asiedu is a senior at Westerville South who is very involved at her school and within her community. She participates in Key Club, Minority Scholars, Junior Mentors, Student Council, Superintendent’s Advisory and the National Honor Society, all while playing on the girls’ basketball team. In the community, she volunteers as a Lead Teen at the Westerville Library; serves as a Children’s Ministry Leader at her church; and is currently an ambassador for UNICEF. Asiedu has had the opportunity to lead, serve, and advocate for causes that bring awareness to societal issues facing communities every day. She works to educate and raise funds to help eradicate neonatal tetanus affecting mothers and babies in underdeveloped nations. In addition, she is always open to turning learning moments into teaching moments, bringing her perspective as an African nationalized person living in America. She encourages others to think outside their privilege and to acknowledge the inequities that people of color face every day.
Hijazeen, an eighth grade student at Genoa Middle School, leads by example. He spearheaded an effort at his school to collect socks for the homeless, canvassing his neighborhood seeking donations and even purchasing some himself. He encouraged fellow classmates to join in, resulting in 2,000 pairs of socks collected and donated with love to the homeless. He is an influential peer leader who consistently encourages others to do their part to make Genoa a better place. He recently organized fellow National Junior Honor Society members to sell raffle tickets to purchase blankets for the homeless. In just 16 hours, $500 was raised. Hijazeen has a never-ending desire to make a difference and is committed to meeting the needs of others.
Receiving Alston awards at the breakfast was retired editor of the Westerville News and Public Opinion, Joe Meyer, along with Westerville Chief of Police Joe Morbitzer. Bishop Joey Johnson delivered the keynote presentation. 10TV morning anchor Angela An hosted the event.