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Former student who highlighted racism in Bangor schools receives national recognition



A former Bangor High School student who brought attention to racial discrimination in the school system has been awarded a prestigious international scholarship.

Amarachukwu “Amara” Ifeji has been named a 2024 Marshall Scholarship recipient, which will provide funding to further her career as a student pursuing a bachelor of arts degree with a focus in environmental and climate action. Ifeji, who graduated high school in 2020, is attending Northeastern University in Boston, as well as serving as the director of policy for the Maine Environmental Education Association.

The scholarship allows students three years to study at the university of their choice in the United Kingdom. As a Marshall scholar, Ifeji will pursue a masters of science in nature, society and environmental governance, along with a masters of science in African studies, at the University of Oxford.

Ifeji was central to prompting changes at Bangor High School following her and Ijeoma Obi’s testimonies of experiencing racism and racially motivated, offensive, comments from peers while attending high school. During their time in the Bangor school system, the young women — who are both Black — said that they were often called racial slurs and were not supported by administration when they raised concerns.

Their comments surfaced as part of a Bangor Daily News investigation into the culture in Bangor schools, and prompted an outside investigation into Bangor High School’s handling of racism that Black students have experienced at the predominantly white school.

The investigation confirmed much of what Amara, along with sister Kosi Ifeji, fellow student Ibby Konteh and Ijeoma Obi and other unnamed interviewees, had testified.

Following the investigation, Bangor Schools Superintendent James Tager said that he was dedicated to addressing past issues with racism and creating a culture of equality in Bangor’s schools as a top priority when he was appointed in July 2021.

Since graduating their graduation, both Ifeji and Obi went on to successful academic careers, with Obi attending Columbia University while Ifeji pursues her degree at Northeastern.

The Marshall Scholarship that Ifeji received is part of a decades-long tradition, established in 1954 in memory of former U.S. Secretary of State General George C. Marshall, who served under former President Harry Truman and helped to create a financial aid plan to support the United Kingdom in post-war reconstruction. The scholarship is mainly funded by the British Government, with assistance from various donors.

Ifeji is one of 39 scholars who was awarded the Marshall Scholarship for 2024.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the relationship between Amara Ifeji and Ijeoma Obi. It also incorrectly spelled Kosi Ifeji’s name, along with Ibby Konteh’s name,

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