Whitener receives Legendary Leadership Scholarship

Dr. Tia Jones and Lily Whitener

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood High School student Lily Whitener was awarded the 2023 1st Lt. Justice R. Stewart Legendary Leadership Award. The award was established in memory of Justice Regine’ Stewart, the author of the poem below.

Stewart began her educational journey in Richland School District Two, and graduated from Richland Northeast High School in 2014. Justice was a Spelman College graduate, a published poet, and a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. At age 25, Justice was one of only 70 Black women who were officers in the US Marine Corps, which, at that time, had more than 18,000 officers.

Leadership, service, integrity, and commitment were key areas of focus throughout Justice’s life. Whitener was recognized as exemplifying the characteristics and guiding principles of Justice Stewart.

The award was given through the Empowering Justice Charitable Foundation.

You may have been through things

but you can’t reach the heights you’re meant to reach without the growing pains

You know, the way that flowers just can’t bloom without the vernal rains

Before the calm, there’s always been storm

in which the aftermath brings clarity to all you’ve undergone—

like you were never weak, you just didn’t know your strength yet.

Never been a burden, just an undeveloped asset.

Your destiny’s determined despite all your derelictions

Every seemingly wrong turn has led you in the right direction

 – Justice Regine’ Stewart

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