We awarded the fifth KJO Memorial Scholarship of 2021 to Ella Melcher of Main South HS. 

The value of this scholarship is $1,500 annually, renewable for 4 years. All recipients must maintain a B average in college.

As shown above Ella with her parents receiving the KJO Memorial Scholarship at the O’Laughlin’s home.

Ella will attend the Miami University of Ohio in the fall.

Ella is our first recipient from Main South HS!


Sports and Activities in High School:

Ella is the Editor-in-Chief of the high school newspaper, a four-year competitive dancer, and a four-year soccer player.  Ella was inducted into the German Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Phi.  Ella also loves Camp Tecumseh and attended there for many years.  Our foundation also supports Camp T, as Kelli and all our children when there and had wonderful formative experiences.

Highlights from the Essay:

In her essay, Ella writes about her experience with the Top Soccer Buddies program: “My volunteer work as a TOPSoccer buddy for six years has played a huge part in building my character and in teaching me the importance of a positive role model in a child’s life. Working with kids who love soccer like I do, but have challenges, has taught me many lessons about the kind of person I want to be. When my buddy, Sami, scores a goal and we high-five, the moment brings me as much joy as it does her.”

Ella also writes in her essay about the Hawks Pal program at Main South: “In school, I escort special needs students to class through our Hawk Pals program. My friends and I meet with our buddies on weekends and attend dances with them just as we would with our other friends. In high school, sadly, some people are not always kind, but my friendship with my buddies helps them to feel safe, accepted and cared for. Through my friendships with my buddies, I have learned that I have just as much in common with them as I do with my other friends and that they are just as deserving of a “typical” high school experience as everyone else. As I have gotten to know them as unique individuals, we are simply friends without any labels.”  

Highlights from the Recommendations:

Ella’s recommendation from her travel soccer coach and Director for TOPSoccer (known for 8 years): “Ella is mature beyond her years, and requires very little direction. Ella takes the initiative to greet and begin engaging with the children as soon as they arrive. We can count on Ella to volunteer to work with our most challenging athletes, those that need constant supervision and will render one completely exhausted after our 45-minute soccer session.  Assisting our athletes requires patience, and Ella’s patience is endless. Her ability to remain patient and calm regardless of a child’s behavior enables Ella to successfully assist any child.”

Ella’s German teacher wrote: “Ella has been able to maintain this positive leadership role even in our year of virtual-learning while interacting with classmates as a class or in small break-out rooms.
This positive example was also apparent while on our school exchange program in Germany in the summer of 2019. Due to a family emergency, I had to leave the thirty students in Germany with assistant teachers. It became clear to me from correspondence with the teachers that Ella stepped up to maintain a sense of order and cohesion among the group members. Ella was an example to the other participants on flexibility, appropriateness, kindness, and compassion. In my absence, she served as a reminder to students of the expectations and purpose of the program.”

We are so happy to recognize and support all the great work Ella has already accomplished and look forward to what great change she can bring to our world.  We heartily welcome her to the family of KJO Memorial Scholars!  Congratulations Ella!