“When I heard I had received this scholarship, I was so surprised and started crying with my mom because I was so happy. I am truly blessed. This scholarship will not only change my life, but will help me change the lives of others.”
Vinnea Flowers, a determined, hardworking, charismatic, and caring student leader is this year’s recipient of the Harry Lewis Jr. Scholarship Award. This fall, Vinnea — a graduating senior at Collegium Charter School and Coatesville resident — will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania and plans on majoring in Biology with a pre-med track and minoring in Business and Spanish. Her goal is to become an obstetrician and help to establish a non-profit organization that supports young mothers by helping them find work and child care so that they do not have to give up their educational goals.
Vinnea’s passion for medicine came from caring for her grandmother who lived with chronic diseases. Her focus on helping young mothers also came from her grandmother who struggled as a young mom when she became pregnant with Vinnea’s mother at the age of 14. Her grandmother’s strength, determination and resilience are traits that have been passed down to Vinnea. She is at the top of her class academically and has been named to the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. Vinnea is captain of the volleyball team and led her team to a championship in her senior year. As a member of the Student Council, Vinnea realized that minority voices needed to be heard so she founded a branch of The Black Student Union at her school and now serves as the President.
Outside of school, Vinnea is passionate about giving back to her community, a quality that first brought her to the Coatesville Youth Initiative (CYI) in 2014. “At first she was a very shy girl who would barely have a conversation with her peers, but Vinnea quickly grasped the objectives and purpose of the CYI program and blossomed into a savvy young woman and vocal leader within the organization,” commented Sam Brown, 2013 HLJ Scholarship Recipient and former CYI Summer ServiceCorps Program Manager. Vinnea is now one of the first to volunteer at community events and devotes her time to other community non-profits including Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA.