Amelia, a third-year Honors student majoring in English, embodies what it means to be a leader. Amelia’s experience with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership instilled in her a sense of civic responsibility that continues to drive her as she creates change in the state of West Virginia. Her involvement with this group has shaped her into a student leader who is focused on student empowerment. Amelia believes in providing students with the resources they need to make success possible. She intends to continue this work by aiding a student population who are all too often forgotten or ignored. In West Virginia, there are 34 alternative schools serving a student population in excess of 800 students. Amelia identified severe limitations in the ability of alternative schools to help students succeed academically. She intends to provide valuable resources to these at-risk youth, including gently used school supplies and post-secondary education mentoring. Amelia is passionate about ensuring that everyone has the access to resources in order succeed in all aspects of their educational journey.
As a first-generation college student, the pressure to pursue higher education is stronger than ever. I vividly remember the stress that accompanied the application process. Many students in more privileged areas of West Virginia are given ample opportunity to develop as young leaders; however, an underserved student demographic are those attending alternative schools. While these schools are designed to accommodate students’ needs, most of the time, an intangible barrier that is difficult to hurtle exists for them. As a land grant university, West Virginia University is, “commit[ed] to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education.” By gathering support for underserved students, I am working alongside the mission of my university. I hold donation drives on campus to collect gently used school supplies as well as garner support from other universities around the state to send them college branded items. Reaching your potential comes second to discovering what you are capable of achieving and identifying your goals. There will always be limitations, but we cannot let them determine where we go next. After graduating, I plan to enroll in a Master of Education program to continue to provide support to less privileged students to reach their full potential.