2019 recipients of MCC’s MLK scholarship announced at luncheon

Jessica Ramirez (left), executive director of the MCC Foundation, and Chancellor Kimberly Beatty announce the 2019 recipients of the Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship.

Five Metropolitan Community College students, one from each campus, were named 2019 recipients of the Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship at a Jan. 18 luncheon.

This was the fifth year of the scholarship program but the first time the luncheon was held off-campus (at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown). This was also the first year the event raised money for scholarships.

Two former MLK scholarship recipients, Queen Wilkes (2015) and Daniel Garcia-Roman (2018), spoke briefly at the event, which featured Kevin Willmott, one of the screenwriters of the 2018 film “BlacKkKlansman,” and Ron Stallworth, the real-life inspiration of the film.

The 2019 MLK scholarships will cover up to one year of Metropolitan Community College tuition.

This year’s recipients:

MLK scholarship winners Connor McNeall (from left), Jaclyn Winberry, Emma Vaughn and Isaac Clay. Nuha Sarhan couldn’t attend the luncheon.

Jaclyn Winberry, MCC-Blue River

Winberry, of Blue Springs, is president of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at MCC-Blue River, where she has a 4.0 GPA. Phi Theta Kappa is an academic honor society for students at two-year colleges. One major PTK project was a celebration of student success at Blue River. As one of her PTK advisers put it, Winberry “gleaned joy by simply watching others see their own success.” A graduate of Blue Springs High School, she is still exploring career options, but she has learned that she enjoys being a leader.

Isaac Clay, MCC-Business & Technology

Clay, of Kansas City North, started taking classes at MCC-Maple Woods when he was 15. He’s now working on an associate degree in welding technology and management at MCC’s Business & Technology campus … and he has a 4.0 GPA. After he forges a welding career, he’d like to earn a business degree and possibly start his own company. Clay has been active in Native Youth Kansas City, a ministry group at his church. He’s also the drummer and bandleader. And he was recently part of a small group that provided music and encouragement at the City Union Mission Men’s Shelter.

Emma Vaughn, MCC-Longview

Vaughn, of Oak Grove, is a 2018 graduate of Grain Valley High School. She is a full-time student at MCC-Longview and a part-time employee at her church’s early childhood center in Blue Springs. She says her family has taught her the value of being a leader and stepping up to serve others. She plans to work in either special education or social work. Among other service activities, Vaughn sponsors a 6-year-old girl from Tanzania through the World Vision program.

Connor McNeall, MCC-Maple Woods

McNeall, of Kansas City North, is a 2017 graduate of Oak Park High School. He says his “leadership escapades,” as he calls them, began in martial arts class. His instructor told him he must share his knowledge with younger students. McNeall is secretary-treasurer of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at MCC-Maple Woods and has participated in several service projects, including a food pantry the campus is planning to open. McNeall has a 4.0 GPA and would like to become a prosecuting attorney … then perhaps work his way up to U.S. attorney.

Nuha Sarhan, MCC-Penn Valley

In addition to maintaining a high GPA at MCC, Sarhan, of Kansas City, has been recognized for her diligent work in English as a Second Language classes. Her busy life includes a husband and three children, and a job at a hospice house. An example of her community service is helping organize an election day civic engagement project at her mosque. Sarhan would ultimately like to work as a clinical laboratory scientist at a hospital.