Contact: Debra Dennis;
For immediate release — July 26, 2021
(DALLAS) — Four student leaders, all high achievers, have been named recipients of the prestigious Myers-LeCroy Scholarship awarded by the Dallas College Foundation. The scholarship honors the legacy of the late Dallas College Chancellor R. Jan LeCroy who died in 2013.
Dallas business leader Mike A. Myers established the fund to honor his late friend, Dr. LeCroy, and the scholarship now bears the names of both. Myers, who is the owner and chairman of Myers Financial Corp., personally mentors the scholarship recipients with advice about life skills, the importance of helping their respective communities and becoming successful in their fields.
“It has been a pleasure to have mentored such amazing, talented and extraordinary young people over the last 30-plus years,” Myers said. “Every year I think it could not get any better, but these men and women always manage to ‘step up the game’ every time. I consider it an honor to play a small part in encouraging them and giving them hope for their future success.”
Myers-LeCroy scholars receive full tuition and books for up to six semesters. The recipients can attend any of Dallas College’s seven campuses.
The 2021-2022 Myers-LeCroy scholars are: Ayrton Goodman, Francis Onyedionu, Johnny Rodriguez and Sarah Gibbons. These student leaders have faced an array of challenges but have also worked to help others through charitable activities.
Ayrton Goodman — Goodman is the first member of his family to attend college. His life has been marred by bouts of homelessness and poverty, but he has prevailed. With a 4.0 grade point average, Goodman has been invited to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus. During high school, Goodman was a UNICEF ambassador for Marriott Hotels in London. There he trained and organized fundraisers to spread awareness and help children reach their potential. He is pursuing an associate degree in cloud systems operations and plans to transfer to a four-year college and earn a degree in computer science. “I’m working very hard to excel in my academics to inspire my little sister and other family members,” Goodman said. “This scholarship means a lot. It will help me get my degree.” Goodman worked in the hospitality industry before COVID-19 triggered his layoff. Despite this being a tough year, he worked with several charities participating in toy drives for the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and a food drive for the North Texas Food Bank. Goodman was born in Brazil and grew up in Portugal before moving to Texas.
Francis Onyedionu — Onyedionu hopes to own a dental practice in a financially challenged community where he can treat patients for little or no cost. The recent graduate of The Highlands School in Irving was a member of the Student Council, parliamentarian of the National Honor Society and participated in a youth ministry leadership program called Conquest. The group worked with middle school students in an array of areas like reading, sports and Bible studies. Onyedionu faced fear and adversity at age seven when he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. It was family and friends, he told fellow class members, who surrounded him and made bearable his 31-day hospital stay. Onyedionu grew up in Irving and will attend Dallas College North Lake Campus. From there, he plans to transfer to either the University of Texas at Dallas or Texas A&M. The Myers-LeCroy scholarship, he said, would help him “bring smiles” to needy patients. Like Myers and Dr. LeCroy, Onyedionu wants to help those in need. “I want to advance my education, to lessen the financial burden on my parents, get a good job and be able to give back to society, socially, educationally and economically,” he said.
Johnny Rodriguez — Rodriguez has been a mentor, coach, leader and volunteer. An honor student at Nimitz High School in Irving, Rodriguez grew up in a mostly under-resourced West Dallas neighborhood where he watched some families eke out a living. He not only pulled himself up has but worked to bring along other members of his community. When a girls’ softball team was on the brink of dissolving, Rodriguez stepped in and volunteered to coach the young team. Rodriguez assists single mothers and other vulnerable neighbors with “handyman projects” such as landscaping. “We serve with our hands and teach general handyman skills to those who have a desire to learn,” said Rodriguez, a first-year student at Dallas College El Centro Campus. He also has worked with Mercy Street Dallas, a nonprofit that builds leaders through mentoring and sports in West and South Dallas. Watching others struggle had a positive impact that pushed Rodriguez to work for a better life. A fan of rags-to-riches stories, he has set his sights on becoming a civil engineer. Rodriguez is also serious about his studies. The first in his family to graduate high school and go college, Rodriguez earned a 4.0 grade point average while attending Trinity Valley Community College. He hopes to inspire his younger sister and brother, who are both still in high school.
Sarah Gibbons — Gibbons has long cared about social and health issues. She sees health at the intersection of issues like teen pregnancy, politics and religion and hopes a career in nursing means she can help patients endure both physical and emotional maladies. An honor student at Brookhaven Campus, Gibbons has kept pace with the demands of college while working full time. She was inspired to become a geriatric nurse after watching and assisting family members as they care for loved ones. “As a nursing professional, I would like to improve assisted living conditions, expand home health care and offer adults the care and respect they deserve,” said Gibbons. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a psychology degree and is expanding her education to pursue a career in nursing. She comes from a long line of medical professionals and is proud that her grandfather was a private practice general surgeon. She has cared for adults with disabilities and has a strong connection to the elderly she has assisted due to being partly raised by her grandparents. Her goal is to pair health care with psychological treatment. “Everyone can benefit from counseling in one way or another,” said Gibbons, a 2016 graduate of Highland Park High School. “I have a great opportunity to improve my education and get into a wonderful profession that involves giving and caring for people and giving back to the community.” Gibbons has volunteered at a camp in Missouri that provides meals and cares for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.
The 2020-2021 returning Myers-LeCroy Scholars are Victoria Davis, Jared Macias, Zaray Enriquez and Mackenzie Palmer. For information on all of last year’s winners, please see the
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