MLK Society announces $11K in scholarships


Tulsa MLK Society announces recipients of $11,000 in student scholarships

A recent graduate of Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School tops this year’s list of scholarship winners from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Society.

Garrett Bland, a 2021 BTW graduate, was one of three student scholarship recipients announced Tuesday and will receive $5,000 toward his education at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

Winners along with Bland include fellow Class of 2021 members Mikayla Wallace, a Union High School graduate who’s attending the University of Oklahoma, and Temiloluwa “Temi” Ogunade, a graduate of Norman High School who’s attending the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Ogunade and Wallace will receive $3,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Pleas Thompson, society president, said: “This year’s recipients truly are the realization of Dr. King’s dream. We are extremely proud of the three young people who were awarded scholarships this year. All have big dreams for the future and have shown great discernment and maturity in interpreting the relevance of Dr. King’s legacy for today.”

With this year’s total of $11,000, the Tulsa-based society has now awarded over $102,000 in scholarships over the past three decades, officials said.

Recipients must be enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions for the upcoming academic year.

Bland, who is majoring in broadcast journalism/mass communications at Tennessee State, has been a regular participant in Tulsa’s MLK Parade and Commemorative Service and sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, in 2013. He has served as a volunteer for many years and in 2019 won first place in the society’s “Interpretive Dance of Peace” contest for students.

Ogunade is majoring in psychology/pre-medicine, and hopes one day to see “more Black and brown faces in psychiatry and therapy,” she said.

Wallace, who is majoring in political science, prioritizes social justice, which she would like to achieve through philanthropy and education.

Applicants were evaluated by an independent panel based on the following criteria: academic achievement, leadership and accomplishments, including participation in extracurricular activities, honors and awards; work and volunteer experience; and community involvement.

Students also wrote essays offering their perspective on King’s legacy.

The annual scholarships are part of the MLK Society’s larger goal of impacting the community’s youth. Since its founding in 1978, more than 20,000 area youths have benefited from its programming, leadership development, civic engagement and opportunities for artistic expression.

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