PFLAG Dayton announced the five winners of its 2013 scholarships at a special banquet held the evening of Tuesday, June 11, at Harmony Creek Church, 5280 Bigger Rd. in Kettering. All of this year’s scholarship winners are from the Dayton area.
The Dayton chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) awards scholarships each year, including:
· A $2,000 scholarship awarded to an LGBT student who exhibits courage and leadership within the LGBT community.
· A $2,000 scholarship awarded to a straight ally who promotes acceptance within the straight and LGBT community. This year, two Straight Ally Scholarships were awarded.
PFLAG Dayton also awards annual $1,000 scholarship(s) offered by the Greater Dayton LGBT Center to a deserving LGBT student(s).
“PFLAG Dayton’s mission is to promote the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, as well as their families and friends, through advocacy, education and support,” said Fred Moore, PFLAG Dayton president. “This scholarship program allows us to meet all aspects of our mission while supporting the next generation of leaders. Our past PFLAG Dayton scholarship recipients have included future nurses, doctors and lawyers — students who will go on to benefit everyone in society.”
This year’s winners are:
Straight Ally Award ($2,000): Allison Cleaver of Dayton
Cleaver graduated from Chaminade-Julienne High School and now is a student at the University of Dayton majoring in special education. She’ll graduate in 2016 from UD, where she is a member of the Marianist Leadership Scholars program that requires community service and includes an examination of social justice issues. Last fall, Cleaver trained to be an LGBT ally, learning how to effectively advocate for the LGBT community and fight stereotypes. These issues affected Cleaver’s family personally when her uncle came out and she witnessed her family’s the love and acceptance for her uncle, as well as the process one family member underwent to arrive at that acceptance.
“My mom always instilled in my sister and me an appreciation for all views, so being an ally is something I’m passionate about,” Cleaver said. “This scholarship will help me stay at UD and allow me to grow as a straight ally. I am proud to go to UD and want to continue as an advocate and take on more leadership roles.”
Straight Ally Award ($2,000): Robin Lynne Hughes of Dayton
Hughes is pursuing a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. She will be taking her prerequisites at Sinclair Community College and then transferring to a four-year school. Every year, she participates in PFLAG Dayton’s fundraiser “When the Stars Come Out!”
“PFLAG Dayton is not only important for the LGBT community but for the Dayton community as a whole,” Hughes said. “They advocate equality for everyone. It gives people, especially young adults, an opportunity to find a safe haven of acceptance and support where they might not find it in their own community or even within their families.”
LGBT Scholarship ($2,000): Anne Marie Finrock of Piqua
Finrock recently graduated from Piqua High School and will be attending Wright State University majoring in biomedical engineering. She is the valedictorian of her class with a 5.3 GPA, which is the highest on record at Piqua High School. Finrock is involved in many leadership positions and feels she’s helped create a more accepting community at Piqua High School.
“When I fell in love with my best friend, I realized I needed to come out,” Finrock said. “A very proud moment for me was when my partner and I were nominated for the ‘cutest couple’ for the high school yearbook.”
LGBT Scholarship ($1,000): Bradley Alexander of Kettering
Alexander recently graduated from Fairmont High School and will be attending The Ohio State University in the fall majoring in physics. He has been an active member of the Boy Scouts and, although he completed all the requirements of to become an Eagle Scout, he declined the honor because of the Boy Scouts’ stance on homosexuality.
“It felt good to accomplish all those things and know I’ve done right by myself, and then be able to step back and take a stand for something I believe in,” Alexander said. “I hope my stance will help send a message to the Scouting organization to be accepting and inclusive of everyone.
“It’s an honor to receive a scholarship from PFLAG Dayton,” Alexander added. “When there’s an environment that’s not conducive toward gays and lesbians, it can become mentally challenging, so having a support group like this that makes people feel proud to be who they are is really helpful.”
LGBT Scholarship ($1,000): Jenny Caden of Dayton
In fall 2014, Caden will graduate from Wright State University, where she is majoring in English and professional and technical writing. Her minors include computing and information technology and LGBT and sexuality, and she’s taken a great deal of coursework in women’s studies. Five years ago, Caden joined the board of Equality Ohio — the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered advocacy organization — and now is its board chair. At WSU, she served on the university’s Transgender Policy Committee.
“I was approached by student affairs because I helped develop a gender workplace transition policy when I worked for NCR,” Caden said. “Our committee drafted a transgender policy update that should go to the Wright State University trustees for their approval this fall. We also gathered information for the student health insurance policy, which I expect to move forward about a year from now when that contract is up for renewal.
“I’m putting myself through college by working three part-time jobs, so scholarships have been a godsend,” added Caden, who also received a LGBT Scholarship last year. “I’ve been able to focus more on my studies and have made the dean’s list the past two semesters.”
The Dayton chapter of PFLAG is affiliated with the national organization. PFLAG chapters are located in more than 360 communities throughout the United States and in 11 countries. PFLAG Dayton offers a variety of programs to support the LGBT community, as well as their family and friends. The group holds monthly meetings at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Harmony Creek Church, 5280 Bigger Rd. in Kettering. Each meeting offers both a program and a support group.