Clayman Family Announces 2023 Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Clayman Family Foundation Scholarship winners: Avah Rodgers, Alexis Stephens, and Zachary Anderson! Winners were announced during a small ceremony in the Niles McKinley High School library on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

The Clayman Family Foundation Academic Scholarship is one of Niles McKinley High School's most prestigious scholarships. Applicants are limited to seniors in the top five percent of their class. This year eight students were eligible to apply. In addition to the application, a student's GPA, ACT score, academic honors/awards, extracurricular activities, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and personal interview are considered in the selection process.

Rebecca (Clayman) Smith participated in the selection process and announced the winners on behalf of the Foundation, which her grandfather started. Just before announcing this year’s recipients, she told the group the decision gets harder and harder every year. “I pour over the applications you submit, and each one of you is so deserving, you work so hard. It was wonderful meeting all of you in person, I enjoyed hearing your stories and getting to know you more beyond the paper application. Good luck and enjoy your senior year. I know you will all go on to do great things.”


  • 1st Place: Avah Rodgers ($60,000) - Avah plans to attend The Ohio State University where she will major in Finance. At McKinley High Avah is actively involved in the marching band where she shares section leader duties for the trumpets with fellow Clayman Scholarship winner Zachary Anderson. She is president of the Key Club, president of the Speech and Debate team, and a member of the National Honor Society. After receiving the Clayman scholarship she said, “It doesn’t feel real, it feels like a dream!”
  • 2nd Place: Alexis Stephens ($40,000) - Alexis plans to attend New York University in New York, New York to study psychology and attend law school. At McKinley High Alexis is the drum line section leader and is actively involved in the National Honor Society, Students for the Environment, Future Teachers of America, Spanish Club, Student Council, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “I am shaking so much,” Alexis said after receiving her scholarship. “This means a lot to me and is such a wonderful opportunity to be recognized and seen as someone worthy of such an award.”
  • 3rd Place: Zachary Anderson ($20,000) - Zachary plans to attend Youngstown State University to study mechanical engineering. At McKinley High Zachary is also involved in the marching band and shares section leader duties with fellow Clayman scholarship winner Avah Rodgers. He is also involved with the gaming society and Students for the Environment. "This feels really good," Anderson said after receiving the scholarship. "I'm surpised and excited, this will really help a lot."

Scholarship recipients receive their monies over four years. Other applicants included: Kennedy Barrell, Whitney Bates, Lucia DeLuca, Brooklyn Galios, and Katelyn Heinselman.

This is the 33rd year the Clayman Family Foundation has presented scholarships to Niles McKinley High School students. The district is grateful to them for their continued support of Niles City Schools students. Congratulations, again, to this year’s recipients!

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