Seniors shine with ‘Lead the Way’ scholarships



DAYTON — Five area high school seniors have each earned $1,000 for college tuition by crafting the brightest ideas for boosting blood donations in the 2017 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarship competition.

The 2017 Lead The Way winners are: Aliya Stine from Newton High School, Karilyn Willenbrink from Miami East High School, Kayla Kohler from Botkins High School, and Krista Felzien and Evan Binkley, both from Northeastern High School. It’s the first time since 2014 that a single high school has had two scholarship winners in the same year.

The applicants were challenged to design a winning marketing campaign for a high school blood drive. They submitted a campaign slogan, explained why it would encourage fellow students to donate, and expressed their campaign theme with one or more innovative and artistic marketing techniques.

Local winners include:

• Aliya Stine, Newton High School: “Be The Red.”

Aliya is a Newton High senior from Troy. She chose the theme of patriotism and unity with the common good of blood donations. She designed a t-shirt with a waving American flag and blood drop, with three red stripes, the others white and grey. It includes her slogan, “Without You There’s Only White and Blue – Be The Red.”

“I chose a patriotic theme for my campaign because during my lifetime I don’t remember a time of such unrest in our country,” she wrote. “I would like to challenge others to work together for positive changes. My ‘Be the Red’ campaign will hopefully inspire others to put their political differences aside and work together to help others.”

Aliya plans to major in biology at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University and become a physician’s assistant.

• Karilyn Willenbrink, Miami East High School: “The Blood is The Life.”

Karilyn Willenbrink is a Miami East senior with five lifetime blood donations, and she was clearly on a mission with her winning Lead The Way campaign. Tired of waiting for vampire humor at blood drives, she wrote, “I figured this scholarship was my opportunity to change that.”

She designed a black T-shirt with red vampire lips and fangs with the slogan, “The Blood is The Life.”

Karilyn says her research into Dracula quotes revealed a universal message. She wrote, “I was taken aback by how much this one summed up everything blood donation is about: saving lives.”

“Not everything in Dracula is scary or painful … there is motivating knowledge that ‘the blood is the life’ and it can save the lives of others. For those who already donate as much as possible like I do, this will serve as a reminder as to what their visits to Community Blood Center truly mean.”

Karilyn plans to study theater and creative writing at Ohio University and would like to work as an actress, writer, and high school theater director.