Ismail Botchway

2024 - ST. LOUIS

Ismail Botchway is a senior at the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience High School in St. Louis, Missouri. He serves as a joint representative for the Black Student Union and Student Council organizations. Ismail is the co-founder and youth outreach director of Community St. Louis, an organization that champions diversity and inclusion within area high schools. Through social media, he highlights diverse cultures, traditions and holidays. After a tragic shooting at his high school on Oct. 24, 2022, Ismail expanded Community St. Louis to provide essential mental health resources to students in need. The organization has now impacted more than 1,500 students and works to reduce the harmful stigma of mental health in minority communities. Ismail also serves on the St. Louis City Board of Alderman Youth Council, where he chairs the mental health committee and helps review grant proposals for the St. Louis Mental Health Board. Additionally, Ismail co-created a student-led peer mediation program alongside the Conflict Resolution Center of St. Louis. This interactive program teaches students in minority communities how to positively resolve conflicts. It has been implemented in underserved public and charter schools throughout St. Louis, impacting over 1,000 students. By teaching conflict resolution skills, Ismail helps reduce the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects students of color. In the future, Ismail plans to continue providing mental health resources and promote peer mediation nationwide while working in the policy sector to create funded state and federal policies for underserved communities.