Community College of Vermont students were recognized for their academic achievements and community service Friday during a celebratory luncheon held at CCV Montpelier.
The thirteen students honored at the event were recipients of the 2014 Student Leadership Award, a scholarship totaling $1,000.
The award, given annually since 2012, honors students who demonstrate significant leadership abilities in the classroom, the academic center, or the community through service learning, volunteer work, and involvement in student life at CCV.
The thirteen recipients represented each of CCV’s twelve academic centers as well as the College’s Center for Online Learning.
This year’s recipients were James Lawton from CCV-Bennington, Patricia Gilbert from CCV-Brattleboro, Elizabeth Fish from the Center for Online Learning, Susan Stroud-Speyers from CCV-Middlebury, Samuel Jensen from CCV-Montpelier, Casey English from CCV-Morrisville, Gladys Chambers from CCV-Newport, Emily Weber from CCV-Rutland, Rachel Arbuckle from CCV-Springfield, Emily Watcke from CCV-St. Albans, Brittney Stevens from CCV-St. Johnsbury, Ashley Andreas from CCV-Upper Valley, and Umesh Acharya from CCV-Winooski.
CCV President Joyce Judy spoke at the luncheon, congratulating the students on their achievement.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” she told the group. “Aside from graduation, this is one of the most special days of the year. You are all outstanding.”
Vermont State College Board of Trustees Chairwoman Martha O’Connor, present at the event with President Judy, congratulated the students, and said she was “honored” to be there.
Scott Giles, executive director of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation spoke on the subject of leadership and the qualities leaders possess, recounting two stories whose themes of compassion and persistence related to the qualities recognized in the honorees by CCV faculty and staff.
“I commend you all for serving the needs of your neighbors and friends,” Giles said.
As the awards were presented to each student, President Judy read the testimonials written about the students by the nominating staff from each academic center.
Each story was unique and detailed the myriad ways the students were positively impacting their communities, both immediately and broadly.
Many of the students juggled school, multiple jobs and a family, yet still found the time to mentor their fellow students or lead support groups, while other students worked hard to excel while working equally as hard to acclimate into an entirely new culture.
Gladys Chambers, CCV-Newport’s scholar, said it felt “amazing” to be recognized.
“I am very honored,” she said. “I don’t see myself as a leader but I’m so grateful to be here and for this award.”
Chambers went on to say that her main goal in the future is to help those in her community.
“I just want to reach out and put forth my talents to make people’s lives better,” she said.
Following the presentation of awards, students were given the opportunity to speak about leadership as well as the struggles or life experiences that have helped to become a leader in the eyes of the CCV community.
Susan Stroud-Speyers, the recipient from the Middlebury academic center, spoke last.
“I started college at 45 years old,” she told the group. “I’m a mother and I work three jobs. I don’t have the answers (about how to manage it all) but I hope that people can look at me and at least know that it’s possible.”