CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — 29-year-old Osaze Osagie was fatally shot by a police officer in March of 2019, after a mental health check escalated in his State College home. While previous investigations found the officer’s actions were justified, the news swept the nation and thousands came forward to honor his spirit.
Now, Osaze’s family and local leaders have established a scholarship endowment in Osaze’s name, to help underrepresented high schoolers who share the same love for community service.
“My son was a very lovely young man, he had unparalleled empathy,” said Sylvester Osagie, Ozase’s father. “It’s been very rough. What’s happened to our son has taken a big toll on our family.”
His father remembers the compassion and selflessness his son had.
“The love he had for his family and the love he had for his friends,” said Sylvester. “Each time he called me the first question was, ‘Dad how are you doing?’”
Sylvester said Osaze had a passion for serving others.
“Our son had dreams and ideas that he could not achieve because of his challenges, and we know everyone recognizes the fact that people who have challenges need support, both in form and in spirit,” said Sylvester.
It’s that spirit, that lives on in the form of a $100,000 scholarship endowment. Provided through the Centre Foundation, this fund will support State College Area High School seniors with similar dreams.
“We want to honor their future endeavors, so whether they’re going to a trade school or a two year institution or a four year institution, we want to recognize the fact that they’ve been giving back and wherever they go they will continue to do that,” said Charima Young, a committee member on the Osaze Osagie Scholarship Committee.
A diverse committee of 11 includes:
- Sylvester and Iyun Osagie
- Mimi Barash Coppersmith
- Lorraine Taylor
- Charima Young
- Lawrence Lokman
- Rich Bundy
- Nalini Krishnankutty
- Ezra Nanes
- Rija Sabeeh (State High student)
- Felisa Preciado Higgins
They have organized the funding campaign, which is just shy of their $100,000 goal.
The committee says the scholarship will also promote unity among the community.
“The scholarship is a gift that will have positive consequences,” said Sylvester. “That will continue to have positive consequences in the future because the beneficiaries would actually remember that at some point in their lives, somebody supported them, and they too would want to support other people, I believe.”
A ceremony is taking place on Sunday, August 29, at 3 p.m. in the State College Area High School Center for Equity, to announce how much money has been raised so far.
The ceremony will include:
- Featured speakers: Felisa Higgins and Rija Sabeeh
- Additional speakers: Ezra Nanes, Bob O’Donnell, Molly Kunkel, who will recognize major donors to the effort
- Musical selection: Eric Ian Farmer
- Student poetry reading: Alanis Preciado-Higgins and/or Annabelle Preciado-Higgins