Athena Wheeler (left) and Lainie Lewis were awarded full scholarships to CC on May 14 as part of the ‘Grow our Own Teachers’ partnership with Columbia Public Schools.

May 15, 2020 – via the Columbia Missourian and Columbia Daily Tribune

Three Columbia high school seniors gave a thumbs-up instead of a signature during a virtual signing  ceremony Thursday as they received full college scholarships and a spot in a Columbia classroom after that. Malek Ben-Ayed of Rock Bridge High School, Lainie Lewis of Battle High School and Athena Wheeler of Hickman High School were praised for their dedication through the pandemic. Lewis and Wheeler will attend Columbia College this fall.

“You worked so hard for this moment, so take all the joy you can and bask in it,” said Tyus Monroe, a junior at Columbia College and one of the first CoMo Ed recipients in 2017.

The CoMo Ed scholarship is part of Columbia Public Schools’ “Growing Our Own Teachers” program, a pipeline to draw teachers from diverse backgrounds into the district. Select students win full rides to college and guaranteed teaching positions in the district after they finish.


“Fourth group of Columbia students sign to be future teachers” – Columbia Daily Tribune

“Three Columbia students win scholarships to become district teachers” – Columbia Missourian