The Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids has awarded eight local high school students with Service Above Self Awards each Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with an annual awards ceremony on MLK Day. Starting this year, they are changing the format of the award, so it will no longer be linked directly to MLK Day. Instead, each winning student will be invited to a different club meeting throughout the year, and Downtown Rotary President Bill Courter will interview them about their story and service, rather than having a school administrator introduce them. Each winner is awarded $100 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.
“I want to hear their voice,” Courter said. “They will come and be interviewed on stage and talk about the reasons why they were selected, some of their passions, what they’ve done in their school or community to make a difference.”
The award also will be recentered to be based on the Rotary Four Way Test, which asks if actions and words are truthful, fair, build goodwill and friendship and are beneficial to all concerned. Schools will be encouraged to select student who exemplify those values.
“I just think it’s a great honor that Rotary can shine the spotlight on these outstanding students,” Courter said. “When you hear their stories, it’s amazing.”
Meet the winners of this year’s Service Above Self Awards:
Haji Ali, Kennedy High School
Ali was the 2019 Norman Borlaug World Food Prize national runner-up, is a member of the National Honor Society, volunteers at Matthew 25, Cedar Rapids Food Bank, Hiawatha Care Center, Scouting for Food and with a clothing assistance effort through student government, and has participated in cross-country, basketball, track and bowling, among other things.
Reid Coates, Marion Independent high School
Coates is a National Honor Society student who participated in All State Choir, is on the leadership team of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a member of the cross-country and track and field teams, show choir and volunteers at Veritas Church.
Marianna Dawley, Prairie High School
Dawley has participated in theater, choir and was selected for All-State. She is president of Key Club and an active volunteer and church member.
Hannah Denman, Xavier High School
Denman is a member of cross-country and track teams as a captain, started the program Run for God and helped coach 30 people to run in the Blazing Bohemie Kolach Festival 5K in June. She volunteers with Families Helping Families and at St. Ludmila church.
Maria Enos, Metro High School
Enos is a member of LGBTQ education and advocacy group Spectrum, an AmeriCorps Course to College student volunteer, a project leaders on STEAM Project Based Learning at Metro, including Berlin Wall and train car exhibit installations at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. She also painted school murals.
Theophile Habimana, Jefferson High School
Habimana participated in Economic Alliance Youth Leadership for Five Seasons, Leaders Believers Achievers, joined Jefferson’s Environmental Club and is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Diamond Roundtree, Washington High School
Roundtree published a book of poetry, “Words From My Heart,” is a student senate member, cheer captain, Washington Steppers captain, participates in Washington Singers, show choir, and is children’s choir director at her church. She is in advanced placement classes, concurrently enrolled at Kirkwood Community College and participates in the Academy for Scholastic Success.
JeAny Toingar, Linn-Mar High School
Toingar is ALO president, participates in track and field and is a Boys and Girls Club volunteer.
Biographies provided by school administrators to Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids