Alex Quinn, a 2011 graduate of Rockford High School, was recently awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the Rosa Parks Foundation. Quinn was honored at a luncheon June 16 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
The Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation is dedicated to awarding scholarships to Michigan high school seniors who hold close to Parks’ ideals while demonstrating academic skills and community involvement. The foundation’s vision is to be the leading force in empowering and inspiring youth to reach their highest potential and advance the legacy of Rosa Parks.
“Rosa Parks devoted her life to creating access and opportunities for everyone, and the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation’s goal is a reflection of that,” said Delora Hall-Tyler, president of the foundation.
Quinn submitted an essay outlining his vision of a society, which is inclusive of those with special needs. He sees the lonely life that many of these individuals lead when they are left out of the daily life of the general population. While society has become much more accepting of those with special needs, peers rarely initiate social interactions outside of face-to-face encounters. Segregated programs provide many services and opportunities for skill growth, but they do not foster inclusion and often perpetuate the isolation from peers and reduce the potential for a future independent life. These special individuals have so much to offer those who take time to know them, and they long to do many of the same things that others may take for granted: be invited to a movie, sleepover, sports event, dance or just hang out. The only real barrier is, typically, a lack of awareness or understanding by the general population, because those with special needs are, often, effectively out of sight and out of mind most of the time.