With just a few months into 2019, Miguel Coppedge is already on a winning streak. Before last year came to a close, the author and philanthropist was spotted selling several books that he penned, and raising money for Prince George’s County-based St Ann’s Center for Children, Youth & Families (St. Ann’s), during The Holiday Market Place that was held at Coppin State University's Talon Center lobby. The event hosted by The Baltimore Times’s community service arm, Times Community Services, Inc., allowed the social change-maker to spread his message about community policing and other superhero adventures to Baltimore, Maryland.
Miguel has a history of conquering challenges, then illustrating his motto that “You’re never too young to do anything.” The District of Columbia resident who was cared for at St. Ann’s before Yolanda Coppedge adopted him, reads to children, writes books, feeds the homeless, and works to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.
While embarking on his inspiring journey, Miguel recently proved that perseverance pays off. Although Miguel placed in the top 10 of Ellio’s 2017 Phenomenal Kids Scholarship Contest, he did not win the online voting portion. However, he entered the contest a second time and this year, he landed in the winner’s seat. He took home a $10,000 grand prize.
"I feel great about winning the Ellio's $10,000 scholarship. When I didn't win the first time, I was a little sad. I was excited that I could enter again. My mom and I were like, ‘We got this, this year!’” Miguel said. "The money will be put into a 529 college savings account and I will build upon that."
Ellio’s Pizza, which is a brand of Dr. Oetker USA, LLC has offered frozen pizza since 1963. The scholarship allows the company to recognize and invest in outstanding youth like Miguel. William Whalen, executive vice president of Dr. Oetker USA, LLC explained what made Miguel stand out in this year’s contest.
“Besides his great work educationally, I think it was his community service that really jumped out at us, when we read his initial letter from his mom which was just fantastic. She described a great little boy,” Whalen said. “We let America vote, by putting it (contest videos) on social media. They voted and he won.”
On March 13, 2019, Whalen walked through the doors of the seventh grade honor roll student’s school with a big check, a congratulatory message, Ellio’s PopSockets and free Ellio’s pizza coupons for all the students who attend Washington Global Charter School.
As Miguel’s classmate’s listened to the purpose of Whalen’s visit, Yolanda Coppedge and many others who support Miguel, beamed with pride.
“A few years ago, we started this contest called Phenomenal Kids, where we gave parents a chance to write in to us and tell us what makes their kids special or phenomenal, whether it was education, academics, community service, athletics, or wherever it was that made their kid phenomenal. And through this contest, and through them writing in, they have an opportunity to win a prize, which is a $10,000 scholarship,” Walen said. “We had some great entries this year— over a thousand entries, and we narrowed that down to 10. And then we let those 10 people create a video of themselves, and we put it on social media and let America vote.”
Kids 12 and under were eligible to participate. Applicants hailed from all over the country, but it did not stop Yolanda from believing that Miguel could win the 2018 contest.
"When I found out that Miguel won the Ellio's $10,000 scholarship, I cried happy tears! I said to Miguel, ‘You didn't win the first time, but you will this time,’”
“I knew Miguel was something special since the first time I met him at St. Ann's. I love this amazing young man so much! He's destined for greatness," stated Yolanda.