The Baltimore Ravens have selected their 2011 class of Ravens Scholars, including one from this writer's local area, Owings Mills, Maryland. For the second consecutive year, five outstanding area high school seniors who displayed remarkable academic achievement, extra-curricular participation and community service will each be awarded a $5,000 renewable scholarship ($20,000 over four years to each scholar) to support their respective college educations.
Funded by the Ravens All Community Team Foundation (RACTF), the scholarship program enables local youth to continue their education on a collegiate level. The team has a long-standing history of service to local communities, and this fund supports those who exhibit the same commitment. Applications were accepted from students who attend public schools in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Carroll County, areas where the Ravens operate training facilities and maintain offices.
The Ravens organization continued its partnership with CollegeBound Foundation, an independent, nonprofit program designed to work exclusively with local students, helping high schoolers achieve a post-secondary education. After receiving nearly 100 applications, the scholarship committee selected nine finalists to be interviewed at the Ravens' facility in Owings Mills. Director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, director of human resources Elizabeth Jackson and public/media relations manager Patrick Gleason joined members of CollegeBound to conduct the interviews.
2011 Ravens Scholars:
Allison Holocker, Century HS- Holocker will be attending Towson University in the fall of 2011. Despite a history of constant knee injuries – which prevented the three-sport athlete from competition much of her high school career – Holocker was determined to handle her misfortune with a positive attitude. Aside from taking on the role of team manager for her cross country team, Holocker currently holds positions of vice president, fundraising head chairperson, fire lieutenant and quartermaster for the Sykesville Junior Firefighter program. Additionally, she shares her passion for sports by donating athletic equipment to inner-city youth through her personal nonprofit organization, Kids United.
Parvinder Kaur, Winters Mill HS- Kaur will be attending University of Maryland, Baltimore County – an honors public research university – in the fall of 2011. The senior, whose family moved to the U.S. from India when she was 6 months old, is fluent in three languages and possesses a strong interest in pursuing a career in medicine. In the summer of 2010, Kaur volunteered at Carroll Hospital Center, where she worked in Geriatrics. She also donates a great deal of time to a local church, helping to conduct food drives and working in the soup kitchen, in addition to lending a hand at the Carroll Lutheran Village retirement center, where she engages the residents in game nights and arts and crafts. Her extracurricular activities include the Interact Club, French Club, SGA, Mathletics, Key Club and volleyball.
Odalis Lopez, National Academy Foundation- Lopez will be attending the University of Maryland College Park in the fall of 2011. She is a standout student, having maintained a 4.0 GPA through all four years of high school. However, her success isn’t limited to the classroom. In addition to being a two-sport athlete and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, Lopez is also the National Honor Society president, as well as the president of her senior class. Outside of school, the senior has shadowed at Northrop Grumman and the Baltimore City Police Department, and she volunteered at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where she assisted local elderly through the Hammer Ministry program.
Daniel Pyser, Owings Mills HS- Pyser will be attending the University of Miami in the fall of 2011. The standout soccer goalie spends a majority of his time off the field volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. Since 2005, Pyser has implemented activity hours for the organization’s families and children, and is responsible for establishing and organizing a can tab drive at his school, with all proceeds benefiting the support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. His other extracurricular activities include Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Steering Committee and the Animal Rights Club, in addition to soccer, lacrosse and wrestling.
Antonio Weeks, Paul Laurence Dunbar HS- Weeks will be attending Bucknell University in the fall of 2011. Leader of the Dunbar Lab Rats Robotics team, the senior hopes to pursue a career in engineering. Weeks is very involved with his school, holding the positions of SGA treasurer, Peer Mediation president, swim team co-captain and Robotics captain. He is also a member of the choir, Chess Club, Drama Club, the Student Ambassadors, and the tennis and cross country teams. Outside of school, Weeks volunteers as a tutor at Tench Tilghman Elementary, where he educates young students about robotics, and assists them in developing better study habits.