On May 17, two Woodward Academy graduating students received the Neiko Morris Scholarship in remembrance of the former student leader on campus. Neiko was the perfect student for Woodward Academy: he was an excellent student, involved himself in student government, being an Executive Knight on his dorm, and participated in several athletic teams including the 2015 state basketball team.
Months later, he left us all with more questions than answers and gave us all a stark reminder the difficulties that many teens face. The statistics point to the fact that we are living in an epidemic:
•Children aged 10 to 14, death by suicide is now more common than death from traffic accidents.
•In 2014, suicide rates were higher than homicide rates for males and females of all age groups.
•While suicide was the 10th leading cause of death among the U.S. population in 2014, it was the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24.
Earlier this year, Neiko’s parents reached out to Woodward Academy and offered the generous gift of a financial scholarship to a pair of high school graduates who plan to attend college. Moved by their sentiment, the Management Team at Woodward Academy decided to match that gift for those students to help pay for tuition, books, or other things they may need.
The questions of “why” these things happen will never go away and we all now have to live with the looming feeling that we could have done more with our time with him. These feelings are no more powerful than with his parents. His time at Woodward Academy mattered and his parents saw that in him. He was laid to rest in his Knights jacket, a sentiment that he is forever a Knight. We report a lot of student opportunities and success, and as a school we are very proud of those things. But Neiko proves to us that there is more work that can be done and we will continue to do that work.
This scholarship is a way to honor him and make a difference in another Knight’s life. The two recipients of the scholarship were Ammari Johnson, a standout WA athlete who plans on attending Iowa Central Community College, and Destry Johnson, who anticipates attending college in his home area of the Pacific Northwest.GO KNIGHTS!