Meet the Student Who Helped OLL Become School of the Year

Every year, Ohio Lottery’s Partners in Education program looks for outstanding students to recognize as Academic All Stars. When second-grader Alaya McMillian went above and beyond, organizing a toy drive to benefit a local homeless shelter, her teacher, Ms. Zbiegien, saw All-Star potential. Alaya worked with her teacher, her principal, her school friends and her community – and her persistence and determination really paid off. In the end, the students collected more than 1,000 toys that were given to children experiencing homelessness and hardship. The children had a chance to take put the values they learn into action, and our community is a better place because of them.

Clearly, Alaya has the potential to do lots more great things. Says Ms Zbiegien, “I think Alaya is going to have a career where she is giving back. She just wants peace and happiness in the world.” Thanks to the support of great teachers, she’s learning how to follow through on that vision and make great things happen.

All of the students and staff at Our Lady of the Lake celebrated both Alaya’s accomplishment and being selected School of the Year at a special pep rally on September 15. Thanks to generous support from Partners in Education, the school was awarded a trophy, gifts and prizes, and a high-energy party with plenty of local celebrities. Students got to dance and cheer with a whole host of mascots from their favorite teams, including the Indians, the Cavs, the Browns, and many more. State Senator Kenny Yuko, Former Mayor Bill Cervenik and Mayor Kirsten Gail were among the dignitaries there to share proclamations and join in congratulating Our Lady of the Lake on its recognition as an exceptional group of students and teachers. 

To learn more about Our Lady of the Lake School and see the video of Alaya's story, visit

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 3:26 PM, 10.08.2017