Two students receive the 2014 Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship
Cleveland Heights High School held its annual Senior Awards Night on May 28. Among the seniors receiving local, state and national scholarship awards were the recipients of the 2014 Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship: graduating seniors Michael Kowalski and Cameron Steele.
“This year’s class did not make it easy for the scholarship selection committee,” commented committee member Dawn Quintana, who made the presentations along with CHP Officer Sean Hinkle, and Kamille Harris, the 2011 West Memorial Scholarship award recipient.
“Eleven outstanding students submitted applications and in the end the committee decided to award two scholarships," said Quintana. "We feel that these two students exemplify Officer West’s leadership and dedication, and see a career in law enforcement as a way of making a difference in their community."
Quintana told the audience, which included West’s mother and sister, that, like Officer West, Cameron Steele’s interest in becoming a police officer started when he was very young. Teachers describe Steele as charismatic and inspiring, and a natural leader who seeks to be a positive role model for others.
Steele works at the Boys and Girls Club mentoring children of all ages, and is part of the Keystone Leadership Group, using his sense of humor to diffuse intense situations. In his essay, Steele wrote about the encouragement he received from his grandfather. He plans to attend Lakeland Community College in the fall.
Those who know him describe Michael Kowalski as a hardworking, diligent, dependable and thoughtful young man who is passionate about academics, athletics, his community and law enforcement. Last June, Kowalski attended a one-week session with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy as a junior cadet.
Kowalski has come to appreciate that law enforcement is about helping people. He participates in various school activities and is a member of the high school lacrosse team. He plans to attend Ohio University in the fall.
Both young men passed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy certification course.
In 2008, CH residents and businesses, along with family, friends and fellow officers, established the Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Fund as a way of honoring his memory. Responding to a disturbance call on May 26, 2007, West was killed in the line of duty. This year, the city will rename a section of Cedar Road—from Lee Road to Cottage Grove Drive—in honor of Officer West.
Contributions to the scholarship fund can be mailed to The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Fund; c/o The Treasurer's Office, CH-UH City School District ; 2155 Miramar Blvd.; University Heights, OH 44118.
Lita Gonzalez is co-chair and founding member of the Officer Jason West Memorial Scholarship Fund.