ELMIRA, NEW YORK (WETM-TV)- Jayla Skeete from Corning-Painted Post High School received the Marty Harrington Scholarship and Jarrett O’Connell from Horseheads High School was the 2020 Ernie Davis winner. Plenty of students received honorable mentions as well.
Established in 2005, the Marty Harrigan Scholarship is an award given to students who went above and beyond the call of duty in spreading the word about Ernie Davis, a nationally recognized football player who played for Coach Harrigan during his years at Elmira Free Academy.
Nominees for the Ernie Davis Scholarship are automatically eligible for the Marty Harrigan Scholarship, and the same committee selects both recipients. Jayla’s award will total $5650 and will go toward her tuition and expenses at Roberts Wesleyan College next year.
Jayla Skeete will graduate from Corning-Painted Post High School and has participated in track, cross country, and lacrosse.
A requirement of the scholarship application is either create a project to or volunteer for 44 hours and spread the word about Ernie. Jayla focused her project by honoring Ernie Davis and the African American Community that he came from. Jayla is an active member of the African American Culture Club in school and was elected President.
In her 44 hours of volunteer service, she created the agendas for meetings where students planned events, explored African American culture and background, and created an open, inclusive environment to learn and teach people how to be more comfortable and confident in who they are.
Jayla completed her volunteer hours and had plans to host an event for Ernie Davis that was unfortunately cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Instead, Jayla created a social media post about Ernie and information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Additionally, Ali Andreine, Colin Tolbert, Emily Curreri, Erik Charnetski, Garrett Sakona, Griffin Squires, Jaden Burchard, and Jakub Ziembicki were awarded $125 for excellent submissions to the Ernie Davis Scholarship.
Jarrett O’Connell, a senior graduating from Horseheads High School, has been chosen as the 32nd recipient of the Ernie Davis Memorial Scholarship through the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. Hewas honored at a ceremony at the Ernie Davis Statue.
Jarrett will receive a total of $15,000 over four years, to be used toward his college tuition and expenses.
Along with his athletic achievements in football and wrestling, Jarrett has volunteered with Ridge Road Elementary School, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, within his wrestling program and at other local organizations.
Jarrett focused on spreading the word of Ernie Davis for his application and did so by reaching thousands through various projects he completed.
Jarrett’s website, www.doitlikedavis.weebly.com included information he gathered from his research about Ernie.
He created a survey of which he challenged community members and visitors of the website to sign the pledge to be more like Ernie.
Jarrett created an Ernie Davis Tribute Booth at one of his home football games, and lastly, he made a PowerPoint and Kahoot activity about Ernie of which he brought into third grade classes in the Horseheads School District.
Jarrett was also featured on the local news for his character pledge.
Jarrett plans to attend St. John Fisher College to study Chiropractic Medicine in the fall.
To learn more about the Ernie Davis Scholarship, visit www.erniedavisscholarship.org. The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. is a permanent source of charitable funds backed by a wide variety of donors committed to the social and economic health of the Chemung Valley region. Contributions to the organization’s varied funds including the Ernie Davis Scholarship Fund may be made to the Community Foundation, 301 S. Main Street, Horseheads, NY 14845.