Six of our students were able to attend the 18th annual WV TRIO Leadership Conference on March 8th to the 10th with no insight or expectations on what was going to happen besides the goal of their leadership skills improving and they would be giving up one of their weekends…
Those that attended had to go through a competitive application process with other sophomores and juniors of our program with the following six students being selected: Izabella Johnson, Gideon Mossor, Katie Wass, Destiny Cochran, Nichola Dominguez, and Anastasia Hagerman. These six students, led by Program Counselor Owen Howes, joined other TRIO programs across the state as well as programs from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The conference had over 300 chaperones and attendees – making this the biggest turnout in conference history!
Our Upward Bound students took part, with other pre-collegiate TRIO programs, in leadership sessions hosted by Paradigm Shift. With the leadership sessions, the students were able to receive training in teambuilding, effective communication, leadership development, working outside their comfort zone, goal setting, college preparation, and taking up opportunities whenever possible. Our students also assisted in the community service project of donating nonperishable food items to the Mountaineer Food Bank as well as packing 800 bags of food for families and children in West Virginia! They were also introduced to the concept of a “lollipop moment” with a Ted Talks video by Drew Dudley. Watching the video, they learned that a “lollipop moment” is a “special moment where one individual positively shapes another person’s life, but may not realize his or her impact.”
With that being said, the Salem University Anne Crum recipient this year was a person of leadership, diligence, ambition, humility, and a woman for others that shares many lollipop moments with the people she encounters but never realizes her own potential and the impact she has with her community, school, Upward Bound, and her numerous extracurricular activities. Salem University Upward Bound was honored to select and present the Anne P. Crum Scholarship to Destiny Cochran! Destiny reflected on being selected for the scholarship by initially stating: “Being recognized as a recipient of the Anne Crum Scholarship was a process. At first, I was shocked because I had fully expected to be recording as another student walked up there (I was fully set and content in my task too). Then I got scared because that was roughly 300 people I was standing in front of as Owen gave the speech.” She went on to say “After it was all said and done, then I felt proud. A skill I’m still learning is to give myself credit where it’s due. I realized while others deserve the scholarship, I do too, and that I should be proud of my accomplishments.” Destiny definitely stepped out of her comfort zone, became a leader and an inspiration for our students that attended, and interacted and befriended with students from other programs.
Stepping out of their comfort zones was a big challenge that most of our students faced at the beginning of the conference. Nichola Dominguez commented “I had to figure out how to put myself out there, and with the environment I was surrounded with, I was able to do this easily without trouble.” Nichola’s remarks are unanimously the same with all the other attendees becoming friends by Sunday morning. Another student, Katie Wass, expressed how she roomed with one of our other students that she never really acquainted herself with by stating “The biggest challenge I faced was rooming with someone who was virtually a stranger but became my best friend, and I was very grateful for that opportunity.” Forming close positive relationships like Katie did, again stepping out of their comfort zone, and becoming a more effective leader were key things that our students got out of the conference. We hope this conference was one of their “lollipop moments.”