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Ernie Liska Scholarships Awarded

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is pleased to announce that graduating Seniors Tyshiea Johnson from Firestone Community Learning Center (CLC), Haura Sairi from Buchtel Community Learning Center (CLC), and Nicholas Kohut from Akron Early College are recipients of the 2023 Ernie Liska Memorial Scholarship. Each will receive $1,000.

In memory of Ernest (Ernie) W. Liska and his devotion to God, country, and service to others, Holy Trinity established The Ernie Liska Memorial Scholarship in 2019 to provide financial assistance to high school Seniors graduating from any Akron Public Schools who plan to earn a college degree or become certified in a vocational/building trade.

Tyshiea Johnson (photo included) graduated from Firestone CLC and plans to attend Kent State University to major in Nursing. Tyshiea was a member of the National Honor Society and volunteered in numerous activities. Her teachers describe her as “… kind, dependable, and responsible, a natural born leader who is willing to lend a helping hand. She shows great attention to detail, has an eagerness for learning, and handles responsibility well.” When asked what receiving the Ernie Liska Memorial Scholarship means to her, Tyshiea replied, “I’m very honored to receive this scholarship. It will certainly help me reach my goal of being a nurse.”

Haura Sairi (photo included) graduated from Buchtel CLC and has been accepted at The University of Akron where she has been awarded a Presidential Scholarship. Currently, she is planning to obtain a dual major in Statistics and Computer Science. While in high school, Haura participated in DECA, which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Her activities included the National Honor Society, the school yearbook, and serving as Secretary for her Senior class. In addition, she is a talented artist. Haura commented, “Receiving this scholarship means so much because it’s enabling me to continue my education which will help me achieve my future endeavors.”

In one of Haura’s letters of recommendation, her English teacher stated, “Haura serves as a role model, volunteering as a math tutor and technology mentor for other students. She is organized, eager to learn, and determined to succeed.”

Nicholas Kohut (photo included) graduated from Akron Early College High School and is planning to attend The University of Akron to major in Computer Science. Students at Akron Early College take college courses as part of their academic studies. Nicholas began taking one course each semester starting in his freshman year and continued to increase his course load, becoming a full-time college student in his junior year. Nicholas was named Valedictorian of his class with a 4.49 weighted GPA. He graduated not only from Akron Early College but also from The University of Akron with an Associate of Arts degree with more than 60 hours of college credit.

Not only has Nicholas excelled academically, but his resume also includes many extracurricular activities, including the National Honor Society, student leadership (mentoring), as well as participation in running, weight lifting, and tennis. Nicholas shared, “Going to college is such an incredible gift, one that I don’t take for granted. This scholarship is allowing me to continue on my journey, and I am so grateful.”

Ernie Liska was drafted during the Vietnam War, starting his Army career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While in Vietnam, he was assigned to an artillery unit and then sent to Germany, serving at a Nike missile base. Achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he later continued his military reserves. Ernie was employed at the Pentagon where he worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Throughout a career spanning 26 years, Ernie was respected for his knowledge and ability to relate to others.

“Ernie was a kind and giving man who touched and impacted the lives of so many,” commented his wife, Elizabeth Liska, and a member of the Scholarship Committee. “Whether taking people to the doctor, grocery store, or church to visiting people in nursing homes and feeding the homeless, he was always giving. Because serving others was such a large part of his life, including a volunteer and service component to the scholarship was very important.”

As a way to memorialize Ernie Liska and ensure funding continues for The Ernie Liska Memorial Scholarship, donations are appreciated and welcome. To give online, please visit holytrinityakron.org/liska-scholarship. Checks, payable to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (memo line – Liska Scholarship), can be mailed to 50 N. Prospect Street, Akron, Ohio 44304. †

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