Excitement and pride were in the air at last Friday’s 2016 Leadership Scholar luncheon in Montpelier. Eleven of this year’s thirteen scholars attended the event and brought along family and friends from across the state. They are an impressive and diverse group of students, each with a unique story to tell.
Jerrica Magill hopes to become an English as Language Learner (ELL) teacher. She believes her leadership experience at CCV-Rutland has helped her significantly on this journey.
“Academic mentoring was actual teaching experience,” Magill said. “I started out tutoring people one-on-one but now I’m actually teaching workshops. It’s really about getting the job experience before I even take the classes that I need.”
Magill was joined at the event by her wife and her two young boys, who were dressed to the nines for the occasion.
“Those are their new Easter suits. They were very excited to get dressed up,” Jerrica said proudly.
Patricia McCormack of CCV-Springfield said she thought that getting involved is more than half the battle. She is working to strengthen the Community of Student Representatives (CSR) chapter in her center.
“What we do in the CSR affects all CCV students in the state in a positive way,” McCormack said. “To be able to bring those changes, you’ve got to be the one to step up and want to lead.”
The students were joined by CCV President Joyce Judy, Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Chancellor Jeb Spaulding, and VSC Board of Trustees Chair Martha O’Connor, who all spoke about the importance of leadership both at CCV and in the community.
“Integrity is absolutely critical. If people can’t trust you, nobody’s going to follow you for very long,” said Chancellor Spaulding. “Having a clear vision, getting people to trust in that vision, and doing it in your own way will allow you to lead at various levels.”
The Leadership Scholarship is designed to honor students who demonstrate significant leadership abilities in their classrooms, their academic centers, or their communities through service learning, volunteer work, and involvement in student life at CCV. In addition, student leaders must be a degree student, be enrolled for spring semester, have completed at least 12 credits, be in good academic standing, and be a leader in their community. CCV has awarded the scholarship since 2012.
In hearing each of the students speak, though, they clearly share a quality that goes beyond their academic credentials and leadership activities. They each exhibit a near-palpable sense of compassion and a belief in the ability of a single person to effect change in the world around them. Assistant Director of Financial Aid Ryan Dulude highlighted this point when he closed out the event with a powerful recognition of the scholars’ achievements and a challenge to each of them: continue on as leaders and agents of positive change in the world.
“Many of you started at CCV, terrified out of your minds as to what the future holds for you,” Dulude said. “Think of what you’ve become at this point. And think what you have ahead of you. And as you leave today, I want you to think about how you can give that to other people. Think about how to look upon other people and think, ‘it’s not about what they are, it’s about who they can become.’”