GREENSBORO — Western Guilford alumnus Kevin Brooks has established a nonprofit organization that recently awarded its inaugural scholarship to Hornets student-athlete Jordanne Arace.
Brooks, a 2003 graduate of Western Guilford who competed in football and track, established Students Taking Action and Rising (S.T.A.R.) in March to provide high school athletes with opportunities for scholastic achievement, mentorship and scholarship. Through programming under the umbrella of four pillars — mental health, career exploration, financial literacy and the arts — S.T.A.R. will provide mentorship and service opportunities that assist students in developing transferable leadership skills.
“S.T.A.R. is a fruition of my vision to give back to my alma mater in a way that will provide the tools for success that I wish I would’ve had during my time at Western,” said Kevin Brooks, founder and chairman of the board of S.T.A.R. and a resident of Washington, D.C. “My hope is that participants will be empowered and empower those around them to be leaders, as well as be equipped with funding to advance their education at a college or university.”
S.T.A.R. recently awarded an inaugural scholarship of $1,500 to Arace, who played tennis and softball at Western Guilford and was a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Random Acts of Kindness Club and AP Capstone.
“I’m so excited and thankful to have received S.T.A.R.’s inaugural scholarship,” said Arace, who plans to attend the University of California-Irvine. “It’s relieved some of the stress that my family and I have been dealing with due to COVID-19 making so many things uncertain such as classes, housing and funding sources.”
This fall, Arace will live in on-campus housing at UCI but take all of her classes remotely because of the coronavirus. She plans to major in business economics with a post-graduation goal of attending law school and becoming a bankruptcy attorney.
Former Hornets football coach Chris Causey, Western Guilford’s athletics director and an alumnus, said he “was immediately on board because I saw how Kevin’s vision could directly impact our students here at Western. In our athletic program, we want to develop servant leaders and Kevin is a living example of servant leadership,” said Causey, who coached Brooks in football. “I am excited to see how this partnership will directly impact and change the lives of our student-athletes. Through hard work, determination and commitment, I believe our student-athletes can accomplish anything.”
“Kevin’s initiative, S.T.A.R., is part of what has made our school community a special place for students,” said Dr. Pete Kashubara, former principal of Western Guilford and incoming principal of the Early College at Guilford. “As an educator, you don’t always get to see the finished product after students graduate, and alumni with Kevin’s drive and desire to give back is inspirational to my continued work. His energy and willingness to give back has had a renewing effect to the passion and purpose that I have dedicated my life to, and I thank him for that!”
Student-athletes at participating schools who meet eligibility requirements set by S.T.A.R. can apply for the program, which will be a combination of workshop and experiential programming. Participants who matriculate through the program are eligible to apply for one of two $1,500 scholarships their senior year. Qualifications are contingent upon grade-point average and community service hours requirements being met.
To learn more or to get involved, visit theSTARscholar.com or email email@example.com. Western Guilford student-athletes who are interested participating can contact their head coach or Causey for more information. Anyone interested in making a gift to the organization can donate at paypal.me/starscholar.