The Oneonta Area Branch of the NAACP has awarded the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuition Assistance Award to Graham Wooden. The purpose of this award is to recognize a student who has demonstrated the ideals and principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in their schools and communities. The Education Committee selected Graham for his exemplary leadership skills and because he is a champion for cultural competence and empathy.
Graham Wooden was born in Cooperstown, NY and grew up in Oneonta, NY. He attended Riverside Elementary School and Oneonta Middle and High School. At Oneonta High School, Graham played four years of varsity basketball and football, and one year of varsity baseball his freshmen year. In basketball, he was a 4x All STAC East All Star, 3x Section IV All Star, and 3x All State Selection. This year he became Oneonta’s All Time Leading Scorer in basketball. In football, Graham was a 2x Section IV player and was captain his senior year.
Besides sports, Graham immersed himself in many clubs and leadership opportunities at OHS. He was Senior Class President, Student Council President for two years, Secretary of Future Business Leaders of America, and Student Representative in History Club. Graham was also a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Link Crew, and the Concert Choir for four years. Graham says his biggest accomplishment was facilitating the start of the NAACP Youth Ambassadors, which is a youth branch of the Oneonta Area NAACP implemented at the high school. “I wanted to shed a positive light on the black communities and communities of color. I wanted to have a venue for younger students to express themselves and influence others to educate themselves on the history of all ethnic groups.”
Graham will be attending Division 2 Mansfield University to continue his basketball career. He plans on majoring in Biology/Pre-Med in hopes of one day becoming a physician assistant or physician in orthopedics. He would like to give gratitude to the Oneonta Area NAACP, Oneonta Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and the whole Oneonta Community for supporting him and allowing him to thrive.