The Salvation Army announced this year’s recipients of the annual D.J.’s Hero Scholarship. Two are seniors students in College Possible.
Amari Walls of Omaha North High Magnet School and Davina Oludipe of Papillion – La Vista High School, both Class of 2020, were selected as scholarship recipients. Each were nominated by their College Possible coach and will receive $10,000.
The D.J.’s Hero Scholarships is an annual award recognizing Nebraska high school seniors who exemplify perseverance and selflessness and who are servant-leaders in their communities.
Davina Oludipe, 2020 D.J.’s Hero Scholarship
Davina is a member of National Honor Society, the cross country team, French Club and a volunteer at Food Bank for the Heartland, UNMC, Omaha Harrison Baptist Church and Judson Baptist Church. She was nominated for the scholarship by her coach Allie Van Houten.
After moving to the United States with her family from Gambia, she struggled with loneliness and culture shock, but acclimated by focusing on her studies and community service.
As part of a class assignment for a UNMC biology course, Davina and a peer launched a prostate cancer awareness campaign that reached 150 men in the community. Davina plans to major in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University this fall and aspires to work someday as a neurosurgeon specializing in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“Davina is an outstanding example of what it means to be a D.J.’s Hero honoree,” said Ken and Annie Bird, event chairs for the 2020 D.J.’s Hero Awards.
“She has shown aptitude, tenacity, grit, positivity, and determination throughout her high school career—all while working to help others. Now, Davina is not only poised for continued academic success in the future, but she is also set to make a difference in the community — wherever her college and professional life takes her.”
Amari Walls, D.J.’s Hero Diesing Family North Omaha Scholarship
Amari is a talented student, musician and member of the Black Student Leadership Council. In addition to maintaining excellent grades, she also works two part-time jobs to support herself. Amari also sends money to her mother who is incarcerated, and aspires to be an advocate for and mentor to disadvantaged youth who need positive role models.
She was nominated for the scholarship by her coach Emily McGuire.
Amari will be a first-generation college student, majoring in business and entrepreneurship at University of Nebraska Lincoln in the fall. She hopes to own her own record label someday.
“While reading the recommendation form for Amari, my daughter and I got chills. She was the obvious choice immediately not for the challenges she has faced throughout her life, but for her resiliency, strength and desire to be more than a statistic,” said Terri Diesing, who underwrites the North High scholarship with husband Jack.
“As Amari said, ‘I am trying to build an empire for those who are coming behind me and set the example that they are capable of being more than what they are used to seeing.’ We are honored to have this opportunity to help Amari set that example.”
The D.J.’s Hero Scholarships are underwritten by David and Peggy Sokol memory of their son, D.J., who lost his battle with cancer at age 18. The Diesing Family North Omaha Scholarship is underwritten by Terri and Jack Diesing and is awarded to a senior at North High, Mrs. Diesing’s alma mater.