Dr. Marla Coleen Clark Oakes Memorial Scholarship

Back Row: Helena Smith, Eunice Tyus, Minnie Hinton. Front Row: Barbara Rowsey (mother of recipient), Malinda Rowsey (recipient), Alfreda Wilbon and Dr. Harold J. Butler. 

The Dr. Marla Coleen Clark Oakes Memorial Scholarship has been established to honor the memory and legacy of a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend who served her church family and community through the advocacy of education.

Dr. Oakes began her career in education as a Reading Therapist with the Success in Reading Program. After earning a Master’s degree in Education, she worked as a speech pathology coordinator, assisting high school students with language disorders.

She held a number of positions within the District of Columbia, Fairfax County and Prince George’s County Public Schools, as well as serving as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Special Education at Howard University, in Washington, D.C.

In 1996, Dr. Oakes earned her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University.

After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Oakes continued publishing articles and received numerous honors and awards for her work.  During 2005, she served as Assistant Superintendent/Specialized Services Officer for the St. Louis Public School System and later served as the Superintendent of Special Education for the District of Columbia Public School System in Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Oakes was an exceptional educator and passed her passion for education to her children Dr. Phillip Jones, Jr., Daphne Jones and Mrs. Danielle Rease, MBA.

The scholarship award presentation was held on Sunday, August 11 at Northern Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Harold J. Butler, Pastor. The 2013 Scholarship Recipient is Ms. Malinda Rowsey, Education Doctoral student. The recipient was presented with a certificate and a $1,500 award during the Northern Baptist Youth Choir Annual Day service.

Presenting the award was Dr. Butler, along with members of the Scholarship Committee, Sisters Helena Smith, Eunice Tyus, Minnie Hinton, and Alfreda Wilbon. 

Every Crossroads graduate received scholarship 

Crossroads College Prep’s senior class of 43 students has achieved a new high. In addition to the outstanding list of college acceptances, every member of the senior class received merit-based scholarship offers of four-year values totaling more than $9 million.

Seven members of the Class of 2013 seniors received scholarships and grants covering full tuition at the colleges they have chosen to attend. In addition, eight seniors received merit scholarships covering half or more of the tuition at the colleges they’ve selected.

The average annual scholarship being used by the Class of 2013 next year is $15,175 and the average annual tuition at the selected colleges is $29,826.

Crossroads College Prep is committed to offering a rigorous academic curriculum to many students in the St. Louis region who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend.  Nearly half of the student body, hailing from 60 different zip codes, receives some form of financial aid. 

Two graduating seniors in the past three years have also been named Gates Millennium Scholars – a highly competitive award that covers all tuition, room and board, fees, and books for the winners up through graduate studies.


Intern program prepares Cardinal Ritter students 

For a decade Cardinal Ritter Prep has been placing current students and alumni in internships throughout the metropolitan area through its Intern Leadership Program. On August 1, twelve young men and women completed the six-year program where their commitment and accomplishments were recognized. The students were selected as sophomores and completed the program after their junior year in college.

This year’s key note speaker was Steve Parks, director of Diversity at Ameren.  Parks spoke about culture and how different cultures enhance the workforce.

With the financial support of the Danforth foundation and the partnership of local St. Louis businesses, the Intern Leadership program was born in 2001. An alumnus, April Cotton was hired to implement this program.

“The Intern Leadership Program gives our students a competitive edge in the workplace,” states Cotton.

The program’s objectives are to place high school students in internships with local program partners with hopes of continued placement throughout their college career. In addition students are trained in career readiness and employability skills throughout their junior and senior year in high school with enhanced training during college.

This work-based learning opportunity provides incentives for talented, educated African-American students to choose to live in, work in and provide leadership in the St. Louis region for civic and economic life after college graduation. Their experience helps them to more easily compete more confidently in this competitive job market. The program also offers mentoring, leadership development and career assessment throughout college and beyond.

“The Intern Leadership Program gave me an advantage over my peers by introducing me to the workforce,” says Ashley Edwards. “I now can carry myself with confidence and hold my head high when put into various business scenarios.”

Partnerships with local St. Louis companies will allow students to more easily transition from school to the workplace and gain on-the-job experience.

The Intern Leadership Program has served over 200 students and has partnered with over 35 St. Louis based 5 companies and organizations. Ninety percent of its students are employed in the St. Louis area. 

This year’s program partners include: Ameren, Archdiocese of St. Louis, Cardinal Glennon Foundation, Clayton Capital Partners, Commerce Bank, International Food Group, KAI Design & Build, Laclede Gas Company, Nine Network of Public Media, QuickSpark Media, St. Louis Catholic Education Center, St. Louis Center for Family Development, Unigroup, VA Medical Center and World Wide Technology.


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(2) comments

Joan Jaybird


Joan Jaybird

Congrats to Ritter! As an alum, I'm glad to see the school continue to prosper. In a time when many public institutions are failing those who need it most, I am encouraged and happy that so many students are gaining valuable skills and knowledge to be self sufficient and develop into what society needs for the next generation! Kudos!

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