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Salisbury Locals Receive 2019 EDK Humanitarian Awards

Salisbury Locals Receive 2019 EDK Humanitarian Awards

     Three Salisbury Rowan county residents have received the coveted 2019 Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award. Myles Cannon, Meredith Williams and Ola Nwafor were honored Thursday, Feb. 26, at the annual celebratory dinner at the Civic Center.

     Cannon, a 17-year-old student at Rowan County Early College, is a Salisbury native who is noted for his involvement in the community. At school, Cannon is an active member of the Student Government Association, National Honor Society and the yearbook committee. 
     He also is a member of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, the Rowan Connection Mentoring Program and the Hurley YMCA Black Achievers.  
     Cannon will attend college in the fall, with plans to continue his education at law school. 
     “I am genuinely ecstatic about getting this award and it’s a great honor….” said Cannon. “It means a lot to me because Elizabeth Duncan Koontz left a big legacy…I feel like this is a good starting point for me to possibly achieve what I want to do and leave my mark… and contribute to the pace that I came from.”  
     Williams is the principal at North Rowan High School. A lifelong Rowan County resident, she graduated from North Rowan High School, and has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University. She has dedicated her life to education, first as an English teacher in Thailand and studying education in Tanzania and Zambia, second as a NC public school employee and finally, as principal of North Rowan for the past three years.  
     Her nominator said, “Meredith Williams, raised in the North Rowan community, returned home with a desire to ensure that all students receive an extraordinary education and are prepared for an evolving future…she has created a learning experience where all students are challenged and have the opportunity to be successful.  Students learn how to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and be creative...” 
     “It’s such a humbling experience,” Williams said of the award. “The work that we do at North High is certainly not only my work. It’s that of a whole staff of dedicated teachers and a community of dedicated stakeholders.”
     Nwafor, also a Salisbury native, holds a bachelor’s degree from Catawba College and a master’s degree from Strayer University in health administration. After completing the 2016 City of Salisbury Citizen’s Academy, she founded the Born Leader Club, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing leadership development, one-on-one mentorship and advocacy for middle schoolers from single parent homes. Born Leaders receive support through the encouragement of emotional, social and physical growth and career preparation in order to become contributing members of society.
     According to her nomination form, “Nwafor not only funded the 501(c)(3) process out of her own pocket, but also pays for many of the club activities herself, recruits, trains and supervises mentors and is working to raise more funds so she can bring more members into the club.”
     “It’s an honor for me to receive this award because this is a very special award,” said Nwafor. “[I] try to build Salisbury…and do whatever I can to uplift the youth and to help them follow their dreams like someone helped me. So I really wake up to give back. All day. Everyday.”
     Each winner of the EDK Humanitarian Award received a recognition plaque.
     Cannon, a 17-year-old student at Rowan County Early College, is a Salisbury native who is noted for his involvement in the community. At school, Cannon is an active member of the Student Government Association, National Honor Society and the yearbook committee. 
     He also is a member of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, the Rowan Connection Mentoring Program and the Hurley YMCA Black Achievers.  
     Cannon will attend college in the fall, with plans to continue his education at law school. 
     “I am genuinely ecstatic about getting this award and it’s a great honor….” said Cannon. “It means a lot to me because Elizabeth Duncan Koontz left a big legacy…I feel like this is a good starting point for me to possibly achieve what I want to do and leave my mark… and contribute to the pace that I came from.”  
     Williams is the principal at North Rowan High School. A lifelong Rowan County resident, she graduated from North Rowan High School, and has degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University. She has dedicated her life to education, first as an English teacher in Thailand and studying education in Tanzania and Zambia, second as a NC public school employee and finally, as principal of North Rowan for the past three years.  
     Her nominator said, “Meredith Williams, raised in the North Rowan community, returned home with a desire to ensure that all students receive an extraordinary education and are prepared for an evolving future…she has created a learning experience where all students are challenged and have the opportunity to be successful.  Students learn how to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and be creative...” 
     “It’s such a humbling experience,” Williams said of the award. “The work that we do at North High is certainly not only my work. It’s that of a whole staff of dedicated teachers and a community of dedicated stakeholders.”
     Nwafor, also a Salisbury native, holds a bachelor’s degree from Catawba College and a master’s degree from Strayer University in health administration. After completing the 2016 City of Salisbury Citizen’s Academy, she founded the Born Leader Club, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing leadership development, one-on-one mentorship and advocacy for middle schoolers from single parent homes. Born Leaders receive support through the encouragement of emotional, social and physical growth and career preparation in order to become contributing members of society.
     According to her nomination form, “Nwafor not only funded the 501(c)(3) process out of her own pocket, but also pays for many of the club activities herself, recruits, trains and supervises mentors and is working to raise more funds so she can bring more members into the club.”
     “It’s an honor for me to receive this award because this is a very special award,” said Nwafor. “[I] try to build Salisbury…and do whatever I can to uplift the youth and to help them follow their dreams like someone helped me. So I really wake up to give back. All day. Everyday.”
     Each winner of the EDK Humanitarian Award received a recognition plaque.

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