Scholarship Recipient Is Inspired by Casey’s Ability to Never Give Up

Scholarship Recipient Is Inspired by Casey’s Ability to Never Give Up

“I remember thinking, Casey Feldman wouldn’t have quit,” said Lionel McCulloch.

By Samantha Matthews*

Lionel McCulloch, a 2019 Casey Feldman Foundation Greater Philadelphia Cappies Scholarship winner, has recently been awarded the Madeleine Wing Adler Emerging Leader Award. This honor is reserved for a first or second year student who has shown the most promise of leadership displayed through roles in student organizations, academia, or service at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU). 

“Hearing about all Casey did before she was 21 really inspired me to put my best efforts out there in her memory when I started at college. When things got tough, I wasn’t going to quit.”

Lionel is currently a rising junior at WCU double majoring in Theatre and Media and Culture and minoring in Computer Science.

He also created a film about the dangers of texting while driving. When heard of Casey’s story before the 2019 Cappies, he felt connected to her. 

“I think about her a lot, and I am not kidding when I say that knowing all that she was capable of made me push myself pretty hard when everyone around me was not finding it possible to go on.” Lionel said. 

Casey had many passions in life, but two that she shared with Lionel were theatre and journalism. Lionel originally joined the Serpentine Yearbook working on layout for the sports section and quickly rose to the role of Sports Editor. In March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the yearbook needed additional leadership. 

“During the pandemic, kids around me were quitting like crazy. When the school closed down, it came down to just two of us actually doing anything on the book itself, and by the end, it was just me,” Lionel said. He remembered thinking, “Casey Feldman wouldn’t have quit — I need to get this book done in her name. She really has inspired me when things get tough.”

Lionel also served as Lead Editor on WCU’s “Unmute Yourself,” the school’s first live virtual production done via Zoom. Lionel recalls switching from in-person to online performances being a “huge learning curve” but felt that the reward for accomplishing something so personal and intimate during such unprecedented circumstances was worth it. 

This year, Lionel is excited to take on the role of sound designer for WCU’s performance of “Pride and Prejudice.”

Lionel is called to leadership by his inability to let himself down by always seeing his commitments through. He also credits his family for motivating and supporting him.

While Lionel completes his final two years at WCU, he will continue his “never give up” philosophy by working hard at what he loves and always keeping his family close.

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Casey Feldman Foundation scholarships and gifts since 2010

Samantha Matthews is a sophomore at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where she majors in Communications and Media Studies. She currently serves as the Features Editor at the Fordham Observer, and one day hopes to go to law school.