CJ grad’s mental health project helps earn Dayton Daily scholarship

Brianna Gavin is the most recent recipient of the Dayton Daily News Community Solutions Scholarship. She is a 2017 graduate of Chaminade Julienne High School and plans to attend the University of Dayton next fall. GRANT PEPPER/STAFF

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Brianna Gavin is the most recent recipient of the Dayton Daily News Community Solutions Scholarship. She is a 2017 graduate of Chaminade Julienne High School and plans to attend the University of Dayton next fall. GRANT PEPPER/STAFF

Teen overcomes traumatic family situation, betters school community.

A 2017 graduate of Chaminade Julienne High School who helped raise awareness of mental illness and depression among teens is the recipient of the Dayton Daily News Community Solutions Scholarship.

Brianna Gavin received the $1,000 award after being chosen from 147 applicants.

The scholarship is “focused on volunteerism and making valuable contributions to the community,” said Ron Rollins, editor of the Ideas & Voices pages for the Dayton Daily News.

“The students who applied didn’t just have to be good students and have good grades, though all of them did – they also had to explain in their applications how they give back to the community,” he said.

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Gavin wrote that beginning in 2014, during her sophomore year of high school, her family endured several major events involving her parents and siblings that caused her family stability to suffer significantly.

Gavin suffered from depression as a result.

“I went through tough times that I would never wish upon anyone. I hit an all-time low,” Gavin said. “But because I went through this tough time, I found the power and the inspiration to complete such a project like I have with my capstone.”

During Gavin’s senior year at CJ, she and four peers worked on a capstone project to help raise awareness of mental illness and depression among teens. They implemented an awareness week in January, with each day having a different theme: Stress Awareness Day, Day of Gratitude, Compliment Day, Loosen Up/Lighten Up Day, and Acceptance Day.

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“The impact of the project was insurmountable,” Gavin said in an application essay. “With the stress awareness activities, the students were completing the small activities on the bookmarks handed out and just seemed happier. All of these days spread a clear awareness about the impact of mental illness on teens and how we could help each other overcome it.”

Gavin plans to attend the University of Dayton this fall, majoring in English and secondary education.

The Dayton Daily News Community Solutions Scholarship was established in 2005 to honor Mike Peters, a political and comic strip cartoonist. He began his career working at the Dayton Daily News in 1969. In 1981, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a graduating senior from a high school within Montgomery, Greene, Miami and Warren counties,
  • Demonstrate the ability to succeed academically,
  • Be accepted to attend a two or four-year accredited college or university, and
  • Submit an essay that demonstrates how they have worked to solve a community problem/need, and be able to explain the impact and/or future plans for solving the problem.

Students can visit daytonfoundation.org to apply.

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