Nine Chicago-Area Youth Honored at UCAN’s 23rd Annual Youth Leadership Awards

Award recipients during a panel discussion at the event.

Youth from Chicago’s west side were honored June 1 during UCAN’s annual Youth Leadership Awards (YLA). Normally, seven students receive scholarships for higher education, but this year, nine awardees were honored.

Ya’Natika Morgan received the 2022 John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholar. A senior at Devry University Advantage Academy High School, Morgan is working toward an associate’s degree in business.

Four young adults received the Steans Family Youth Leadership Award:

Chiagozie Onyewuchi, a senior at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urban who studies economics and computer science;

Isaiah Spears, who attends Depauw University and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership in higher education or strategic leadership development;

Colby Boyd, a junior at South Shore International College Prep High School, who hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy; and

Kyla Ann Osborne, a member of UCN’s Youth Peace Council who has participated on panels discussing gun violence and racial healing. She plans to attend the University of Michigan to study political science, with dreams of becoming a politician. 

Additionally, four award recipients came from UCAN’s Comprehensive Undergraduate Success Program: Deja Burell, Diamond Neal, Antwaun Wade, and Anthony Ezeanyim, who presented a panel about how they got through challenging times.

Currently, Burell studies business at Lincoln University in Missouri. Neal is looking to pursue a master’s degree in architectural engineering, and also won UCAN’s Future Leader’s Night Youth award.

Two adults also were recognized for their ongoing support in at-risk areas. Jeff and Julie Diermeier received the John D. Nichols Award for their philanthropic efforts.

Each year, the YLA event raises funds for UCAN programming. This year, the 23rd annual YLA event, garnered $827,150.

Read a complete review of the evening, written by award recipient Chiagozie Onyewuchi for the Chicago Leader.

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