Columbia Association selects five service-minded seniors as Spirit of Columbia scholarship winners

May 5, 2016

For more than 25 years, Columbia Association (CA) has recognized high school seniors for outstanding service to their community. This year, the Maggie J. Brown Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Award, a $2,500 scholarship, was awarded to five graduating high school seniors who have shown extraordinary dedication to performing community service. They are:

Ryan Dworski, from Hammond High School, wanted to share his story about living with autism. That led to the creation of “Autism Awareness” and the hosting of a movie night fundraiser for the Howard County Autism Society. He also produced a video to encourage and educate youth who are on the autism spectrum, as well as educating parents whose autistic children are still young. Dworski has been an active member of the Catholic Youth Ministry throughout his high school years. As a result of his volunteering, he would like to work in the field of elementary special education. Dworski will attend Mount St. Mary’s University in the fall.

Natalia Graf, from Atholton High School, is actively involved in Atholton’s Future Educators Association. Through this organization and the Community Action Council of Howard County’s Food for the Hungry, Graf helped assemble and distribute approximately 560 meals to the community for Thanksgiving. She first became interested in volunteering after two summers spent helping at the Howard County Arts Council’s Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp. Graf will attend Salisbury University in the fall.

Kelsey Guerinot, from Atholton High School, has been a very active member of Atholton’s Future Educators Association throughout high school. Guerino has been co-president of the club for the past two years and dedicated more than 2,000 hours to volunteering for many different outreach activities. In addition, she held an officer position through Best Buddies and volunteered her time helping special-needs children. Guerinot will attend Towson University in the fall.

Maya James, from Oakland Mills High School, created an underclassmen mentoring program under the Delta Scholars Program, which each month pairs upperclassmen with young women in the ninth grade. James serves as the program’s president and its past historian. She also had a significant role in organizing various fundraisers and increasing the enrollment and participation of its members in community projects. In addition, she tutored elementary school students who were struggling with math. James will attend Georgetown University in the fall.

Kelly Mackin, from Atholton High School, has been very active in Atholton’s Future Educators Association during high school, serving as co-president this year and vice president in prior years. Mackin designed a volunteer program and met with the principal at Clemens Crossing Elementary School to present her idea, which was well-received and led to 20 members of Atholton’s Future Educators Association volunteering at the elementary school each week. Through the club’s partnership with Head Start, she was able to apply for and was awarded a school-sponsored grant to fund the buses for the children of this program. Mackin will attend Messiah College in the fall.

This year’s scholarship winners have been invited to be recognized at the June 9 meeting of Columbia Association’s Board of Directors. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road near the county vehicle emissions inspection station.

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit community services corporation that manages Columbia, Maryland, a planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at

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