Nick Clifton, a second year student at Maryville College, is a leader on the basketball court, in the classroom, and in the community. As a student preparing to be a high school history teacher, Nick is passionate about helping young people develop to their full potential and helping them understand the forces and events that have shaped our world. As a Bonner Scholar, Nick serves ten hours a week as a tutor and mentor to young people in our community, promoting a healthy learning and recreational environment and interacting with students and parents to encourage success. He constantly seeks ways to strengthen our educational system and also to lift up young people who may not be noticed or encouraged to seek academic success.
Learning is the basis for change. Our education is what exposes us to ideas and tactics that can only be learned within a classroom. I grew up in a small town where teachers were rarely as equipped as those in larger cities. Therefore, students were not given the proper tools to reach success and this created a detrimental circle of poverty. I know I am not the only one who has experienced this, I work at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center where we serve under-privileged youth. I am working with students everyday that faced many of the same challenges that I did. As I have continued my education, I have discovered that many minority students face the same challenges as me. The only way to overcome these issues is with systematic change. Continuing to develop leadership skills and broadening my education in public problems will help me one day provide greater enrichment to our youth. I believe that working with the Newman Civic Fellowship will further equip me to become the change that I hope to see in our public education system.