Several Franklin & Marshall College students who have received scholarships to fund their education are lending a hand to help a group of children overseas afford their own schooling.
F&M’s Gray Scholars raised funds throughout the 2011-12 academic year to support the Heritage Academy in Ghana, a school founded by F&M graduate Kwesi Koomson ’97. The Gray Scholars, who receive financial awards from F&M for their academic strength, leadership and strong moral character, presented a $692 check to Koomson May 29 in F&M’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. The College’s Black Student Union (BSU) also contributed to a portion of the gift.
Koomson founded the Heritage Academy in 2004, overseeing the school’s growth from 32 students to more than 1,200 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
“We’ve come a long way, all because of help like this,” Koomson said after receiving the check from the Gray Scholars. “This will help support 10 students for one year.” Koomson noted that the cost of attending the Heritage Academy is $75 for one student per year.
The gift marked the latest chapter in a developing relationship between F&M students and the Heritage Academy. In the summer of 2011, F&M students Jessica Dunbar ’13 and Jarrett Dillon ’13 traveled to Ghana to teach at the Heritage Academy. On the trip, Dunbar met the first recipient of the F&M Heritage Scholarship—an award she created with the BSU.
Over F&M’s most recent winter break, a group of F&M students participated in a community-based learning trip at the Heritage Academy through F&M’s Ware Institute for Civic Engagement.
Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs Marion Coleman is excited that the Gray Scholars are supporting the Heritage Academy. Coleman works closely with the Gray Scholars, who receive special opportunities for excursions and on-campus activities led by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“I’m thrilled by the ways the F&M community has supported this great cause,” Coleman said. “I believe this effort [by the Gray Scholars] will help strengthen the link between F&M and Africa. I’m happy that the Gray Scholars are taking pride in reaching out and funding something themselves. It’s also exciting for them to build a connection to an alum of F&M.”
F&M Gray Scholars Arnela Obbasic ’14 and Sanela Ombasic ’14 presented the check to Koomson. They worked with Gray Scholar Hanna Jun ’12, special events intern in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and other Gray Scholars to raise the money through a series of bake sales during the 2011-12 academic year. “As Gray Scholars, we wanted to give back and help educate children,” Arnela Ombasic said.
Koomson delivered a presentation on the Heritage Academy at F&M’s Common Hour on Oct. 27, 2011.