Dover High senior lauded for leadership

DOVER — At 18 years old, Dion Baker likely has a busier schedule than most grown adults.

A senior at Dover High School, Dion plays three sports (cross country, track and field and swimming), is a member of the marching and concert bands, serves as a peer mentor for younger students at his school, and is active with his church.

Along with playing three sports (cross country, track and field and swimming), Dover High’s Dion Baker is a member of the marching and concert bands, serves as a peer mentor for younger students at his school, and is active with his church. (Submitted photo)

For all of his efforts both in school and in the community, Dion was recently awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Zeta Rho Lambda chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The scholarship was announced at the fraternity’s 35th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast held on Monday, Jan. 15 at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.

The Zeta Rho Lambda scholarship is open to juniors or seniors living in Kent or Sussex County, who have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Members of the scholarship committee take several criteria into consideration when evaluating an applicant, including academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, leadership, community involvement and educational potential, according to the fraternity’s website.

Applying for the scholarship was a lengthy process and a lot of work, Dion said. Like most scholarship applications, he was required to write an essay, but the Zeta Rho Lambda scholarship also required Dion to be interviewed by four head members of the fraternity.

By the time he got home from the interview, his mother was just getting off of the phone with one of the scholarship committee members. That was when Dion found out he had been awarded the scholarship.

After years of earning good grades and participating in community activities, Dion said he was proud of his accomplishment.

“It just shows that hard work pays off,” he said. “All of the things I’ve learned from my parents and my teachers have paid off.”

The Zeta Rho Lambda scholarship is one of many that Dion has applied for recently, and he said earning this award is giving him optimism about those other scholarships.

“Even though I dreaded writing the essays, this shows I’m on the right path,” he said.

It’s not hard to tell why Dion was chosen for the Zeta Rho Lambda scholarship, and this award is just one Dion has received during his time at Dover High School.

Dion was inducted into the National Honor Society for his academic achievements, and he also received a Scholar Athlete Award and the Coach’s Appreciation Award for his commitment and leadership to his cross country team.

His school counselor, Christopher McGuire, praised Dion for all of his hard work.

“He is the epitome of a student leader,” said Mr. McGuire, in an email. “He is a man of integrity, selfless and humble, but is competitive, determined and hungry for greatness.”

Dion Baker credits his parents Andre and Doreen Baker, and brother Dorian for much of his success. (Submitted photo)

Dion said Mr. McGuire is the reason he got involved in the peer mentoring program at Dover High School, which is one of Dion’s favorite activities. The peer mentoring program is designed to help freshman students acclimate to life in high school.

Dion said his favorite part about being a peer mentor is seeing the connections he’s been able to make.

“It’s a lot of different personalities, and it’s cool to connect with the students you didn’t think you’d connect with,” he said. “You can build relationships with them that will last a long time.”

When Dion isn’t at school, he can usually be found at his church, New Hope Pentecostal Church in Dover, where he serves as a junior deacon, usher and a member of the youth ministry. Dion has been an active member of the church for much of his life. Many of the members have influenced him throughout his life, including his pastor, Bishop Ralph A. Benson.

Dion said he is constantly learning new things from Bishop Benson and he looks up to him as a mentor.

“He speaks in front of crowds all the time and he just knows exactly what to say,” said Dion. “Whenever I have to give a speech or speak in front of people, I always think of him and how he does it in front of our church. He’s a great role model and he’s a great man.”

Dion speaks in front of his church at least once a month. Thanks in part to his parents, Andre and Doreen Baker, Dion has been practicing his public speaking skills for a long time.

“My mom had me doing it at a young age,” he said.

In addition to encouraging Dion to hone his public speaking skills, he said his mother has always supported him and pushed him to succeed.

“My mom definitely keeps me going and motivates me,” he said. “Whenever I have a problem, I know I can go to her.”

As for the future, Dion will graduate from Dover High School in June, and he plans to attend Hampton University in Virginia in the fall. His older brother, Dorian, is currently a student at Hampton. Dion said he plans to major in business.

Dion Baker participates in a swim meet for Dover High School. (Submitted photo)

“It’s always been my passion,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business.”

Mr. McGuire has served as Dion’s school counselor for the last four years, and he said he’s certain Dion will continue his success into the future.

“It has been an honor to watch him grow into the young professional he is today,” said Mr. McGuire. “I trust God will continue to bless Dion and his family, and I believe the best is yet to come.”

Jessica Eisenbrey is a freelance writer living in Wilmington.

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