Students, staff, and community leaders joined together on Thursday, April 29 to celebrate the CCV 2020-2021 Leadership Scholarship recipients. The annual Leadership Scholarship celebration was again held virtually via Zoom, an adaptation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

CCV Student Leadership Scholarships are awarded annually to a student from each of the College’s 12 academic centers and the Center for Online Learning. Recipients, nominated by their home academic center, are awarded $1,000 in recognition of their leadership efforts through academics, volunteerism, and community engagement.

This year’s Leadership Scholarship celebration keynote speaker was Dan Smith, Vermont Community Foundation president and CEO. He spoke of when he first recognized leadership as a kid, after getting lost in what he called “Tangletown.” It was a story of exploration, inspiration, challenges, and of “trying to find your way,” where he came to the conclusion that “part of leadership is being willing to start things without knowing how they’re going to turn out.”

CCV’s 2021 Student Leadership Scholars

Smith has carried this with him throughout his life and into his work at the Vermont Community Foundation. “Leadership is a lot more about being curious and listening than it is about telling. It’s less about showing what you know than it is about showing that you’re going to make the effort to understand…a leader isn’t wired to turn away from things, a leader notices things.” He ended with words of encouragement for the scholarship recipients, saying that “being a truly good leader means being decent, being committed, and being courageous” and that “you are all here because people around you see something in you.”

Facilitated by CCV Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Student Affairs Heather Weinstein, scholarship recipients had the opportunity to speak about leadership in their lives. CCV-Bennington student Quin Loomis expanded on what the meaning of a good leader was to her, saying that she “would like to be the type of leader that people know they can come to…who’s there to help guide others.” Loomis was nominated for this scholarship for her perseverance and hard work. She currently works full time at a child care center and is using the scholarship money to continue her education.

Another scholarship recipient had her own views on what leadership looks like. “I would really love to be a leader who is kind and compassionate, empathetic and driven…it’s really important to lead by example,” said CCV-Upper Valley student Jamie Green. She thanked her advisors, mentors, and supporters at CCV who helped her pursue her dreams. As someone living in long-term recovery, Green says that “CCV has given me a platform to take back my life and really develop myself into the person who I’ve always had the potential to become but never had the courage to be.”

Alban Malanda_Leadership Scholarship
Courtesy PhotoAlban Malanda, CCV-Winooski Leadership Scholarship recipient.

Mentors were also important in CCV-Winooski student Alban Malanda’s life. He attributes his empathy for others to his mother, who he says taught him how beneficial it was to love and take care of others. This translates into his view of leadership: “the kind of leadership I look for is to be one that serves others. Being a leader is being a servant, listening to other members of the community, and lifting them up. I’m happy to be a leader that people can rely on.” Malanda is appreciative of being named a leadership scholarship recipient, and says that CCV has given him the tools that he needs to be a leader.

As students reflected on the importance of the mentors in their lives, CCV-Morrisville student Amy Cox spoke to the impact of being a mentor herself, and helping others. “Being a mentor helped me see that it’s really important to be able to relate to others and meet them at the level they’re at,” she said. For Cox, it has been fulfilling to be a mentor for her peers, and it has also helped develop her own skills. “Getting to know people is a leadership skill I feel like I’ve improved upon by working at the center and helping others.”

Leadership Scholarship committee member Ryan Dulude concluded the celebration with advice to the students: “it’s not what it is, it’s what it can be.” As we all navigate through the pandemic and to what the “new normal” will look like, he encouraged students to take time to reflect on what their personal brand of leadership is, and to think of what it could be in the future. “You all are going to play a critical role in where Vermont is going as future leaders,” Ryan said. “And I can’t wait to see where you’re going to take us.”

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