One dreams of becoming a high school band director. The second plans to study neuroscience, especially how the brain and memory work. The third wants to be an astronomer and continue his ongoing research into dark matter.
All three — Madison Walker, Claire Laux and Alexander Green — also are winners of the Lions Club of Kent’s John Ferlito Memorial Scholarship. The Ferlito scholarships recognize stellar graduating Roosevelt High School students who have “demonstrated outstanding service in the community and volunteering.” Normally, the Lions Club awards two Ferlito scholarships. This year, a third $500 award is due to the one-time generosity of a private endowment.
“Maddie,” daughter of Stephanie and Joseph Walker, has volunteered extensively in school activities, with her Kent United Church of Christ youth group and in the community, notably in working at an area shelter for women escaping the horrors of human trafficking. Walker has been the Roosevelt band’s drum major, plays in the Akron Youth Symphony and will attend Ohio University in Athens. She said she is thrilled to have auditioned and been invited into OU’s School of Music.
Claire, daughter of Tracy and the late Stephanie Laux, said she has been struck by how meaningful volunteering can be, not only as a way to benefit others but also as an instrument to grow oneself and connect with people from all walks of life. A deeply moving experience, she said, was helping rebuild in Puerto Rico with her Kent United Church of Christ youth group in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Also an accomplished violinist, Laux traveled to Germany on an orchestral tour. Claire has not yet decided where she will study neuroscience.
“Alex,” son of Sarah Kwon and Albert Green, although busy with high school studies and as a member of a Case Western University physics team researching dark matter, said volunteering “fills me up.” Alex, who will study astronomy at Brown University in Providence, R.I., in the fall, volunteers as an “ambassador” for the Portage Park District. He founded the Roosevelt group “Riders for Justice” in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last year. He also draws original art on cards he sends regularly to disabled residents of Hattie Larlham in Mantua.
John Ferlito was Kent’s health commissioner for a quarter century. He died in 2017. The Kent Lions perform about 2,500 vision screenings annually for Kent City Schools students in K-12. The group provides vouchers for eye exams and glasses for those who can’t afford them. They also sponsor a Guide Dog and subsidize Type-1 diabetes research.
Bob Springer, Lions Club of Kent
*Editor’s note: Springer is a member of The Portager’s Board of Advisers.