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These young men and women are very active in their school and community.

James A. Villalobos File photo

James Villalobos, a Springfield Central High School senior and member of the Mayor’s City-Wide Violence Prevention TaskForce, has been awarded the first Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover/Phoebe Prince scholarship by the Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover Foundation.

Villalobos, who plans a career in broadcast journalism, was named the winner of the $1, 500 scholarship, funded by The Republican’s Newspaper-in-Education program in memory of two area students who took their own lives after repeated bullying, at the foundation’s third annual anti-bullying scholarship gala on April 14 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.

"The foundation rewards students for bringing more awareness to the issue of bullying. It also helps the victims and the bullies, " said Villalobos, who plans to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the fall and major in broadcast journalism.

He added it is important for students "to not be embarrassed or ashamed to tell adults" about bullies and avoid seeing it as "snitching."

Sixteen other high school seniors from throughout the state were awarded individual Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover scholarships of $1, 000 by the foundation, established in memory of the Springfield sixth grader who took his own life on April 6, 2009, just before his 12th birthday on April 17, after repeated school bullying.

Sirdeaner Walker attended the 2013 anti-bullying scholarship gala in memory of her son, Carl, with a number of family members including daughter Gloria, 8, and son Charles, 10. Republican photo by CONOR BRENNAN

South Hadley student Phoebe Nora Mary Prince, 15, committed suicide on Jan. 14, 2010.

Regina Jeames, who chairs the foundation’s scholarship committee, said the scholarship winners showed in their applications their commitment to being leaders for change.

“These young men and women are very active in their school and community. They embody the phase ‘Pay It Forward, ” said Jeames, who is a senior application analyst for Baystate Health Information and Technology. “Each has made a personal commitment to make a difference by being the face of change.”

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