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Ritenour High School Senior Receives MLK Drum Major Scholarship

Gabriela RojoGabriela Rojo, a Ritenour High School senior, is a recipient Christian Hospital’s Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major scholarship. She was honored for receiving the scholarship during Christian Hospital/BJC’s virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which premiered on Jan. 14, 2022. The scholarship is sponsored by the Christian Hospital Foundation. View her video acceptance speech here:

Rojo received the $1,000 for her “drum major instinct” that Martin Luther King Jr. described in a famous sermon at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church that emphasized the desire to lead with selfless motives. "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness… We all have the drum major instinct," Martin Luther King Jr. said.

The Drum Major scholarship honors graduating seniors in north St. Louis County who show selfless leadership and plan to pursue a health care career. 

Rojo will be attending Washington University next fall with a major in biomedical science and a minor in Spanish. She plans to transition to the university’s graduate program to become a physical therapist and then later pursue a Medical Spanish certification. 

I want to provide support and representation for people of my cultural background that struggle to receive proper health care due to lack of resources and language barriers,” said Rojo. “ I’ve seen firsthand the struggles my mom faces in communicating with health care professionals because of the communication barriers.”

Rojo says she is interested in becoming a physical therapist because she has accompanied her mother many times to physical therapy to translate instructions as she recovered from injuries. 

“I want to be part of the solution to begin eliminating the barriers,” said Rojo. “I want to pursue a career in health care to be able to educate others in my profession on how to help communicate with Hispanic patients.”