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The Delaware County Democratic Party has announced the awarding of two $500 college scholarships to area high school students. Each application was evaluated on the basis of academic standing, extracurricular activities, community service, political activity, and career goals.

The first-place applicant is Zainah Samer Yousef, who ranks first among all seniors at Olentangy Berlin High School and will be graduating a year early. Already in middle school, she was accepted into the BETA Club that encourages service and leadership among students. Zainah has demonstrated a passion for science, learning, community involvement, and politics. She participated in a school Ted Talk that addressed human rights for Palestinians as well as seminar studies on the impact of religion on woman’s rights internationally and an analysis of affirmative action case law. She aspires to be a medical doctor where she hopes to use CRISPR technology for the elimination of genetic defects. Zainah has been accepted at multiple universities, including The Ohio State University, but has not yet made her choice.

The second recipient was Anika Casanova, a senior at Hayes High School. Having lived in Mexico for three years, she is multi-lingual and has already received college credit for her advanced-level French courses. Anika has worked with Charlamos, a local volunteer group, helping area Spanish speakers improve their language skills.

She has been active in the Global Scholars program and in Delaware Hayes International Thespian Society, for whom she currently serves as sound manager in the auditorium. She was a Rotary Youth Alliance Exchange student in Argentina for six weeks. Anika has participated in the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and plans to study political science at Kent State University

The scholarship program is named after Robert B. Parker, owner of a men’s clothing store in downtown Delaware for many years and who also served as the treasurer of the Delaware County Democratic Party.

–David Simmons