By Keith Gushard
People can’t have a passive commitment if they want to bring about social change, according to Dr. Yumi Taylor DiAngi.
DiAngi, a local physician, praised the works of U.S. civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and that of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela, who brought about social change in their respective countries.
“You cannot cooperative passively with an unjust system,” DiAngi told the crowd of more than 70 at the 41st annual Meadville Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Corp. celebration on Sunday.
DiAngi reminded the audience that while both men worked for social change, they did it in non-violent ways and worked to change the system in their respective countries.
“Opportunities come out of obstacles,” DiAngi said.
The celebration, held at the Tippie Alumni Center at Allegheny College, marked the presentation of scholarships to five local high school seniors to continue their education.
First organized as a local grassroots effort following King’s 1968 assassination, the scholarship corporation manages and invests contributions toward scholarships predominantly for African-American and minority students in the Meadville area.
DiAngi noted she’s come full circle with the scholarship program, having been a recipient herself in 1996.
It allowed her to go on to Connecticut College where she graduated magna cum laude in neuroscience and Japanese studies. She then went on to complete her medical training and internal medicine training at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2009, returning to the Meadville area to practice medicine.
She has done medical work and medical missions in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and islands in the South Pacific in addition to volunteering locally at the Meadville Area Free Clinic.
“Getting an education is the best vehicle for social advancement,” DiAngi said.
Each of the five students received a $1,000 scholarship Sunday at the nonprofit corporation’s scholarship celebration.
The recipients are:
n Makayla Marie Battles, a daughter of Teresa and David Lauderman. She has a weighted grade point average of 4.602. She been accepted at Penn State University at University Park and will study nursing.
n Holcy Alexander Furlong, a son of Traci Balsamo and P. Kevin Balsamo. He has a weighted GPA of 3.800. He has been accepted at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and will major in engineering.
n Annette Elizabeth Hilton, a daughter of Alicia and Edward Hilton. She has a weighted GPA of 5.072. She has been accepted to the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, and has an undecided major.
n Trevor William Martin, a son of Karen Martin and Timothy Martin. He has a weighted GPA of 4.455. He has been accepted at Thiel College, Greenville, and will major in accounting.
n Teara Lea Wofford, a daughter of Tina and Larry Wofford. She has a weighted GPA of 4.138. She has been accepted at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and will major in psychology.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know?
As of April, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Corp. has awarded more than $185,000 in local scholarships to Meadville area students with more than 90 percent of scholarship recipients having graduated from college.