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Supporting the future: 4 college-bound BIPOC students earn inaugural ‘Persevere to Excel’ Essay Scholarships


Essay Scholarship winners, from left, Erika Reyes Ortiz stands next to Manchester School of Technology math teacher Dr. Amanda Egan, who encouraged her students to apply for the scholarship. She is next to Edna Rays Ndayisaba and Jayda Bogert. Not pictured: Rachel Bangasimbo

MANCHESTER, NHConsultant, performer, and social-impact innovator  Deo Mwano can add another significant notch to his ever-expanding socially-conscious belt: philanthropist.

On August 15, Mwano held an awards dinner honoring four students recognized for their winning submissions in the newly-formed essay scholarship program, “Persevere to Excel Essay Scholarship.” The event took place in the Pappas room of the Puritan Backroom restaurant, an effort he expects to conduct annually. 

Four recent high school graduates Edna Rays Ndayisaba, Erika Reyes Ortiz, Jayda Bogert and Rachel Bangasimbo (who was unable to attend the ceremony because she’s already off to college)  were each the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship. Candidates were selected on the merit of their essays and sought through various business and scholastic recommendations from among the BIPOC community. The essay theme was perseverance. 

Three of the scholarship recipients spoke about their winning essays on perseverance. From left, Erika Reyes Ortiz, Edna Rays Ndayisaba, Jayda Bogert. and Deo Mwano. Photo/Carol Robidoux

“We believe in you and we are coming alongside you,” Mwano said in his introduction to winners and their families, detailing how the idea of the scholarship came to be and offering words of congratulations and encouragement.

“This could always be in your toolbox,” said Mwano, referencing the essays as an instrument of reflection. 

Speakers included Mayor Joyce Craig, who thanked Mwano for the scholarship program addressing “strong and determined women.” 

Mayor Joyce Craig congratulated the winners of the inaugural “Persevere to Excel” Essay Scholarships. Photo/Carol Robidoux

“You are our future…you have an important voice that must be heard,” Craig said. 

President of the Manchester chapter of the NAACP, author, and Managing Partner with Organizational Ignition, James McKim, also spoke of the “thoughtful essays” stating, “We are in one of the most challenging times of this country’s history. This nation became a great nation because we are a melting pot. Perseverance makes all the difference.”

The evening included with winners reading their essays, dinner, and a short Q and A session.

James McKim, President of the Manchester chapter of the NAACP, addresss the honorees and their families. Photo/Carol Robidoux

On the web: Deo Mwano Consutancy



About this Contributor

Constance Cherise

Constance Cherise is a freelance writer and contributor for Turner Classic MoviesSee her work here.

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