The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC WNY) has named Nichols School senior Steven Hall ’21 as one of its 2021 Community Heroes Award honorees. Hall is one of two high school students among this year’s pool of 10 honorees.
This year's Community Heroes Awards will be a televised special and a live stream. Watch the NFJC WNY Community Heroes Awards special televised live on WGRZ in Buffalo on Friday, March 19 at 11:30 a.m. or via livestream through the NFJC WNY Facebook page
& YouTube channel
on Saturday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
Hall and the rest of this year's Community Hero Award recipients were selected based upon the impact they have had on Western New York during the pandemic, recent civil unrest and the continuing social and economic disparities.
“I do the things I do simply because I think it's the right thing to do and I had the ability to do so,” Hall said. “To know there are others who see and appreciate my effort means what I'm doing is having a positive effect and isn't for nothing. It encourages me to keep this up moving forward.”
Dr. Ramone Alexander, Nichols School’s Director of Inclusivity and Community Building, nominated Hall for this award. Hall is currently a co-president of Nichols Upper School’s Student Council and is a member of Nichols’ Black Student Union. He also serves as a mentor to younger students of color in the Upper School. Hall also has a deep affinity for Chinese language and culture, participating in international exchange trips to China and earning numerous awards from the University at Buffalo’s Confucius Institute for his language proficiency.
“Steven is an outstanding young man who I have watched grow more poised and confident as a leader during his time at Nichols School,” Alexander said. “Steven’s role as mentor is just one of many ways he exemplifies his willingness to serve others. Steven is a stalwart of the Nichols community.
“You will likely find Steven and his incredible mom at service opportunities like Nichols First Thanksgiving and other service projects in collaboration with Journey’s End Refugee Services. Steven’s ability to bring others together is reflected by his diverse interests and leadership roles in school clubs ranging from Chinese Calligraphy Club, Comic Book Club, and Fight Club to Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club. As an African American male navigating a predominantly white school, Steven has earned a level of respect that brings to mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when he articulated his dream of a place where his children ‘would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’”
In his senior year, Hall is completing a research thesis under Dr. Alexander examining the portrayal of Black males in film. Hall was awarded a QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship
and is also a finalist for the Gates Scholarship, a highly-selective scholarship for outstanding minority high school seniors. He will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall.
“The opportunities given at Nichols reach out to every corner of the Buffalo community,” Hall said reflecting on his experiences over eight years as a Nichols student. “Getting involved with the many food drives, conferences, and other charity work have all had an impact on me, exposing me to different parts, and people of different walks of life that I would have otherwise been ignorant to. It gives me a better understanding of those around me and what can be done to help them through their hardships.”
When asked what advice he has for others who want to engage in the work of building more just and inclusive communities, Hall said to dive in and not be afraid to experience something new or unfamiliar.
“Get involved as much as you can. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of it, especially if it's something entirely new to you,” he said. “It may be something you'll continue to do into the future. Nothing bad can come from making the world a more welcoming place.”
On behalf of the entire Nichols community, congratulations to Steven on this tremendous honor!