Two Baltimore County high school seniors were named as winners yesterday of the first Herb James Scholarships, sponsored by a local minority police officers' association and judged in part on student essays about creating a more wholesome community.
Larri Alston of Dundalk High School and George B. Harris III of Parkville High each will receive $600 scholarships from the county police Blue Guardians Inc., a support group and beneficial society created in 1986 for minority officers. The award, created to foster minority education, was named for a former officer who was the organization's first president.
Winners were chosen on the basis of academics, recommendations and their essay on the theme, "I Too Shall Create a More Wholesome Community."
Ms. Alston, who will attend the College of Notre Dame of Maryland this fall and plans to study broadcasting, is a member of the National Honor Society and the Gospel Tabernacle Church choir in Turner Station. She wrote about how education and mentors in the community inspired her and created a wholesome community for her.
"When you are black and young, you look for role models in the community," Ms. Alston wrote. "It could be that friendly neighbor or the person who runs the corner store. These people seem like family because they watch over you like your parents. . . . They are the Rosa Parks and the Martin Luther Kings whom have the courage to change things for the youth."
Mr. Harris, who plans to attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School and then the Coast Guard Academy, is an avid volunteer with the elderly and children, and is president of his senior class.
His essay also focused on finding mentors within communities and the value of a good education.
"As a young Black male, I feel that with a college education, I could return to the community and provide the vital role models which demonstrate the strength, determination, and knowledge to succeed in any of life's endeavors," Mr. Harris wrote, adding that "only through knowledge, can we gain the strength and power we need to change the ills of our present communities."