ESU to Recognize Award Winners at 21st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on January 3, 2018, No Comments

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania selected the winners for the 2018 Boddie Scholarship, Martin Luther King Jr. awards, and the Julianna V. Bolt Art Contest. The winners will be recognized at the 21st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast, which will be held on January 15 in the Mattioli Recreation Center on ESU’s campus from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Boddie Scholarship Recipients

The Gertrude Mary Smith Boddie Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to undergraduate students of color at ESU. In 1904 Ms. Boddie was the first African-American student to graduate from what was then known as East Stroudsburg State Normal School and ultimately became East Stroudsburg University in 1983. The students who apply for this scholarship are asked to describe, in essay form, their commitment to social justice through community and university involvement.

The Gertrude Mary Smith Boddie Scholarship recipients are Destinee Ward, a junior majoring in public health from East Stroudsburg, Pa., Doreen Lwanga, a senior majoring in special education (PK-8) and early childhood education from Mount Pocono, Pa., and Theresa Chey, a senior majoring in business management and communication from Lebanon, Pa.

The three students are all involved at the university and in the local community. Ward is an orientation leader, a resident adviser, and a peer educator at the wellness and prevention office. She is also a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Pocono and the American Red Cross. Being involved in these organizations gives her the opportunity to work with diverse teams, where she can learn from those she serves with.

Lwanga, a full-time adult learner, is a volunteer with the Career Independent Living and Learning Studies program (CILLS) on campus, an assistant Webelos I dean leader with Cub Scout Pack 85, and a volunteer with Minsi Cub Scout Summer Camp. While her education began in her country of origin, Uganda, Lwanga is pleased to be finishing her education at ESU. Her community involvement also includes student mentoring, higher education research, grassroots activism, and defending the human rights of incarcerated persons, refugees and other forced migrants.

Chey is a first generation American. She is a member of student senate, campus activities board, vocal variations, the Warrior mentor program, the Asian student union, and is the lead orientation leader. Through these clubs and organizations, Chey participated in the sexual assault awareness walk, the teddy bear drive, and the pink light walk. She strives to promote equality, non-violence, and justice through her participation on campus.

The three students will each receive a $3,080 scholarship award for the spring 2018 semester.

Martin Luther King Jr. Award Recipients

The Martin Luther King Jr. Award recipients exemplify characteristics of Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence, equality, justice, cultural diversity and respect for humanity. Awards will be presented to one student, one faculty member, one staff member and one member of the local community.

Theresa Chey, in addition to the Boddie Scholarship, has been selected to receive the Martin Luther King Jr. University Student Award.

The University Faculty/Staff Award recipient is Maria Lourdes M. O’Kane. O’Kane, currently the executive office manager for student affairs, began working at ESU in 2010. She has served on the MLK Breakfast Planning Committee for almost eight years, becoming the right and left hand for the Chair. She keeps the committee running smoothly and makes sure the program is successful every year. O’Kane also serves on the Diversity Dialogue Project (DDP) committee. Through changes in leadership, she has made it her personal mission to continue the program’s legacy and she understands DDP’s role in getting students to talk each other while learning from each other.

O’Kane is a regular volunteer for the MLK Day of Service, The United Way Day of Caring, and at her church, Our Lady of Victory. She visits her husband in a nursing home nearly every day. While there she also spends time with residents who don’t have frequent visitors to make sure they feel loved.

Her unconditional love for those around her – students, coworkers, and members of the community – embody Dr. King’s ideology of non-violence, equality, cultural diversity, and respect for humanity.

Thomas Jones is the recipient of the Community Member Award. Jones is the president of Monroe County branch of the NAACP. He is also president of Monroe County United, a community organization that focuses on building relationships and breaking barriers in the areas of education, law enforcement, spirituality and youth development.

Jones implemented and chaired the WE Care Campaign that was featured in NAACP’s

national publication “The Crisis” magazine. The We Care Campaign consisted of the chapter’s 1st Annual Black History Celebration, “In America We Rise,” uniting residents and community leaders, 1st Annual Youth Praise Dance Experience, uniting churches and the youth of

Monroe County in song and praise dance and a Health Awareness Festival that provided residents access to health and wellness topics, facilitated by top notch physicians, resources and information in two locations, East Stroudsburg and Brodheadsville. Jones is the founder of the Monroe County Image Awards, a 501(c)(3) community awards celebration that recognizes Monroe County residents for leadership contributions in 23 categories.

The activities and programs that take place through Monroe County United and NAACP’s Monroe County branch are possible through Jones’s commitment as worker, spokesperson, organizer, networker, and community builder.

Julianna V. Bolt Art Contest

There were 40 entries to the Julianna V. Bolt art contest this year. Christie Lee from Stroudsburg High School won first place, Hanna Defino from Stroudsburg High School earned second place, Tony Flores from Stroudsburg High School was awarded third place, and Kayla Patney from Stroudsburg High School was awarded honorable mention.

For more information about the Celebration Breakfast or for special accommodations, contact Juanita Jenkins, director of multicultural affairs, at 570-422-3896 or