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Winning essayists urged to 'Be bold. Be courageous. Be brave. And don't give up'

Mike Desmond
(l to r) Scholarship winners Eric Kegler and Amaya Walker with sponsor Eva Doyle.

Two local high school graduates received a little extra help for college Tuesday. Amaya Walker and Eric Kegler received $500 scholarships in the 11th annual Romeo Doyle Muhammad scholarship awards from Eva Doyle.

Doyle is known for her long advocacy of Black history, after three decades as a teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools system. In giving the two young people their checks and a swag bag of items for college and life, she cited civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis who died this week.

"Who was known for saying this: Be bold. Be courageous. Be brave. And don't give up. And,that's my message to young people. That's a lesson for all of us, if you're doing good work, don't give up," Doyle said.

Doyle told the group gathered socially distant on her lawn that the awards are named for her late husband, a disabled Korean War vet.

"His commitment to our country. I fly the American flag because he fought under this flag for this country. I also fly the red, black and green flag in memory of my ancestors and all the things they did to contribute to this country in the struggle for freedom," Doyle said.

Canisius High School graduate Kegler is going to St. John Fisher College to major in sports management and Cleveland Hill High School graduate Walker will be attending the University of North Carolina in Pembroke to major in neo-natal nursing.

Doyle read part of Walker's essay.

"My career goal is to become a neo-natal nurse. It has always been my aspiration to help others, especially small children, as they are the most vulnerable. Childhood health care is important to me because I feel that every child should have the right to be taken care of and be provided with the best care possible," she read.

Doyle also read from Kegler's essay.

"Sports have been part of my life since I was born. I can remember going to my cousin's basketball games as a child and I would sit and watch the teams. I began playing basketball when I was in the second grade. I loved it. What made me love it the most was helping my teammates score," she read.