January 15, 2021
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Wednesday, January 13th Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin presented three Hamilton Township School District students with the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service and Scholarships Awards. These students each received a $450 scholarship and were selected by the Tribute Committee based on their dedication to public service and clear commitment to academic excellence.
“While we are not able to gather in person for our Annual Tribute Ceremony this year due to COVID-19, I am happy that we as a Township have still found a way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and present three deserving Hamilton Township School District students with a scholarship award that both commemorates their dedication to service and sets them up to further their educational careers,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “I wish Olena, Ryan and Lauren the best of luck in all of their future endeavors. I am proud of the strong spirit of community service we have here in Hamilton”
Lauren McCarthy, one of the 2021 awardees, is a Senior at Steinert High School, maintaining a 4.56 GPA. Lauren participates on the Steinert Lacrosse and Cheerleading Teams. She is a member of the German Club and German Honor Society, Student Government President, Hamilton News, and Key Club. Lauren volunteers in the community through Girl Scouts, and has been awarded Gold Award recipient which is awarded to less than 6% of Girl Scouts. Lauren has also volunteered for the Miracle League of Mercer County, which is a baseball league for children with disabilities, and as a result of her contributions was named the Hamilton YMCA Volunteer of the Year!
“Annually, the Hamilton Township community pauses to remember the life, leadership, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I have been honored to be a part of that celebration for more than a decade. In addition, I have been humbled to be the keynote speaker twice. It is most fitting that we pause each year to celebrate both the dream and the dreamer. In a world where nightmares seem to be the norm, we need to reflect upon a dream that speaks of light, hope, justice, equality, and equity,” said Dr. Joseph E. Woods, Pastor of Saint Phillips Baptist Church. “Today, I join our beloved mayor, the MLK committee, and the entire community of Hamilton Township to lift up the ministry and model of Dr. King as motivation to cast a vision in our day to empower and position people to overcome injustice and inequity in our world. Much has changed since Dr. King walked this earth, yet much remains the same and more still needs to be done. So as we look back at what Dr. King did in the past, may we all be encouraged to do something different today so that tomorrow will be better for us all.”
The second Scholarship recipient, Olena Mykhaylyshyn is a Senior at Hamilton High School West. With a GPA of 4.89 (second in her class), Olena serves as a Peer Leader, and is a four-year member of the Swim and Tennis Teams. She is a member of the Science League, Spanish Club, HEY Club, CASCADE, a cultural awareness and education club, and Unified Programs. Olena is also an active participant in the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian National Home, and volunteers for the Hamilton Rotary Club.
“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” said Pastor Lance Walker of Faith Baptist Church. “In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. This is the kind of extremist we need!”
The third Scholarship Award was given to Ryan Hardiman, a senior at Steinert High School. Ryan is a Senior at Steinert High with a GPA of 4.51, serves as a Peer Leader and is a member of the Varsity football and baseball teams. His community service includes several years of involvement at the CYO Bromley Center community events including Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Part, Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Clean Up Day, Halloween Parade, and volunteering in the food pantry. Ryan works at CYO Yardville as a Summer Camp and Remote Learning Counselor, and a basketball clinician. His teachers describe him as mature, dependable, and a critical thinker.
The Tribute Committee looks forward to honoring Dr. King and additional scholarship recipients in person again in 2022.