On Tuesday, for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started, students, staff, and community leaders gathered at CCV-Montpelier to celebrate the CCV Leadership Scholarship recipients. Zoom accommodations were also made available for those who were unable to attend in person.
Every year, one student from each of CCV’s 12 centers, plus the Center for Online Learning, is awarded the Leadership Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. Recipients are nominated by their home academic center and are recognized for their leadership abilities in their centers, classrooms, and communities for their efforts in volunteer work, service learning, and involvement in student life at CCV.
This year’s guest speaker was Melinda Moulton, former CEO of Main Street Landing. Melinda spent her career redeveloping the Burlington Waterfront and turning it into a thriving community space. Her experiences allowed Melinda to speak on what leadership means to her, including what she considers qualities of a successful leader: high social intelligence, ability to embrace change, self-awareness and self-mastery, and the ability to focus – all of which she stated that the Leadership Scholarship recipients embody.
The central theme of Melinda’s speech was “leading from the heart.” She included 16 words or phrases of wisdom that she says were her “leadership best practices, which have helped guide me throughout my career,” and which she wanted to leave with the students. One of these 16 wisdoms is the power of naivete. Melinda encouraged students to “realize that what you do not know allows you to take chances that you would not otherwise take.” Another piece of wisdom Melinda shared was to always speak out against injustice. Leaders are those that have the power to create change, and “your voice when added to the multitude of voices speaking out against injustice becomes part of the powerful voice for change,” she said. “Never ever doubt the power of your influence and your voice.”
2022 Leadership Scholars
Facilitated by CCV Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Student Affairs Heather Weinstein, students were asked to share their thoughts on leadership and what it means to them. Autumn Morse, from the CCV-Springfield center, was the first to step forward. “There’s no specific way to show leadership,” she said, but multiple signs, including simply showing support and being a friendly face. CCV-Bennington student Angela Ellison shared a similar sentiment, saying, “leadership, I am learning, does not always look like we think it might look like. My motto in life is to always make everyone around me feel important, comfortable, and included…we all have something to bring to the table.”
Kevin McGreal received CCV-Upper Valley’s scholarship. A member of CCV’s Student Advisory and Leadership Council (SALC), Kevin acknowledged the role that CCV has played in his growth as a leader. “I find that my call to service really has found foundations through the work that I’ve done here,” he said. He went on to share that leadership isn’t something that is done in a vacuum, and that his fellow students have been an inspiration to him. “It’s just been the biggest motivating factor for me being involved and trying to create an equitable education for everyone…and bring people together, because I think the world really needs that right now.”
CCV-Middlebury scholarship recipient Rebecca Hanley recalled an anecdote from her fourth grade teacher: “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” “I spent a lot of my life trying to get out of the way and make myself as small as possible,” Rebecca said. “But I think everyday we wake up and we decide then if we’re going to be a leader.” Leadership Scholarship committee member Ryan Dulude acknowledged that, like Rebecca, not every scholarship recipient previously considered themselves a leader, but “I hope we have kicked the door down for you a little bit to help you recognize that yes, you are a leader, and you have the opportunity to do incredible things.”