Focus on Students
Chesapeake College students learn to lead through service

Student Leadership Academy project took participants to D.C. homeless shelter

Friday, December 03, 2010


The Leadership Academy Class of 2010 celebrated their accomplishments at recent ceremony. Left to right, front: Kristen Davidson, Ben Baker and Evan Crum. Left to right, back: Michael Ensor, Jimmy Glen, Ashley Friend, Brittany Dillard and Kimberly Taylor. 

WYE MILLS – The lectures, presentations and work sessions were all beneficial, according to participants in this fall’s Chesapeake College Student Leadership Academy. However, the most rewarding part of their experience was when they put their leadership skills to work in the field in service to others.

"We had a ball giving back to the community," said Easton resident Ashley Friend at Thursday night’s Leadership Academy graduation, referring to the Academy members’ work with the Century Union Mission in Washington, D.C.

Queenstown’s Kristen Davidson, another graduate from the Leadership Academy’s eight-member Class of 2010, said the group’s work at the mission was an eye-opening experience.

"I think I found out how easy it is to make a difference," said Davidson of the group’s project, which involved breaking down old bunk beds and building new ones at the mission. "There is always something small that you can do that yields big results."

Chesapeake College Student Life Director Rohry Flood, who co-sponsors the Academy with Director of First-Year Programs Dana Bowser, said the service project allowed participants to "see how this work can directly impact people." The students worked side-by-side with citizens who stayed at the homeless shelter to build 82 new bunk beds.

"On the D.C. trip we were able to see another side of the students," said Bowser. "The PowerPoints and the work sessions were all great, but at Century Union we were able to see them actually put into practice things they learned as part of the academy – working together, adapting, falling into roles as part of a group."

While most of the graduates found the service project particularly rewarding, they also said the semester-long leadership portfolio project was highly beneficial. The project – which involved each student creating their own portfolio of academic, extra-curricular and community achievements – included a personal mission statement each student had to create.

"I realized when I put it all together in a portfolio that I had accomplished a lot," said Stevensville resident Jimmy Glenn. Some of the Leadership Academy graduates said this was their first leadership experience. Others, like Henderson resident Kimberly Taylor, were looking to refine their leadership skills.

"I was already vice president of PTK (Phi Theta Kappa, the college’s honor society)," said Taylor. "I already had some leadership qualities, but I wanted to learn about how to become a more effective leader."

Flood said the participants’ commitment to the eight-session Student Leadership Academy program was exceptional.

"Everybody came nearly every week and everyone worked really hard," said Flood. "This was a very committed group of students. This year’s graduates have a lot of leadership potential."

The Leadership Academy graduates were: Ben Baker, Evan Crum, Kristen Davidson, Brittany Dillard, Michael Ensor, Ashley Friend, Jimmy Glenn and Kimberly Taylor.

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