New Scholarship Fund at DCF to Benefit Southern Delaware Students
Simmons Scholarship will support BIPOC graduates of Milford and Cape Henlopen High School
Even as a child growing up in southern Delaware, Omari Simmons knew that two things mattered in his family: education and helping others.
Now, the Milford High School graduate has combined his passions by establishing the Cynthia and Nathaniel Simmons Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.
“Education was a huge part of my family and focus,” said Simmons, now a law professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Education can open doors and create change not only in one’s own life, but also in the lives of others around them.”
The new Simmons Scholarship will help fund college for Cape Henlopen and Milford High School graduates who identify as members of a historically disenfranchised or underrepresented racial or ethnic minority.
“Having attended school K through 12 in in Southern Delaware, I recognize that need and understand that environment,” Simmons said. “There are extremely talented people with tremendous potential who don’t have the same opportunities. What would it be like if they did?”
The Simmons Scholarship honors Simmons’ mother, Cynthia, and his brother, Nathaniel Simmons III. Cynthia, an elementary school science teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District, always pressed the importance of higher education and invested in every student, Omari Simmons said. His brother Nathaniel inspired him by fighting through ill health to earn a degree from Pennsylvania State University shortly before he died in 1995.
After the deaths of Cynthia and Nathaniel III in 1995, Omari and his father, Nathaniel Simmons Jr., started the Simmons Memorial Foundation to help underrepresented and historically disenfranchised students in Southern Delaware and beyond to learn about and pursue higher education. The foundation continues to serve students in North Carolina and Southern Delaware.
“Success in my family was always measured by how many people you helped and building bridges for success” Simmons said. “I have a strong belief in young people and their potential for greatness when given resources.”
Now the Simmons Scholarship at the DCF will complement the work of the Simmons Foundation. The first Simmons Scholarship will be awarded in May 2024 for the 2024-2025 school year. Students can apply for the Simmons Scholarship and dozens of other scholarships through the DCF’s single online application at delcf.org/scholarships when it opens in December. Donors can make contributions to the fund at delcf.org/donations/simmons.