Huntington, Ind.—Huntington College sophomore, Mylana Leatherman from Topeka, Ind., was recently honored at the 2001 “Realizing the Dream” banquet in Indianapolis, Ind. She was among 29 outstanding first-generation college students from 29 independent college campuses in Indiana and the teachers who most encouraged those students to seek a college degree. Leatherman chose Mr. James Miller, her Photography teacher from Westview High School, as the teacher who most influenced her decision to pursue a college education.
“Mr. Miller was always very positive and willing to help students in whatever way possible. He made me realize through hard work that I could accomplish whatever I wanted to,” said Leatherman, a History major at Huntington College.
Made possible by a grant to the Independent Colleges of Indiana from the Lilly Endowment, “Realizing the Dream” recognizes the triumphs of the first-generation students in their first year of college. The student honorees are Indiana high school graduates who subsequently demonstrated superior academic performance during their freshman year and exhibited leadership in the campus or community activities. A $500 contribution will be made to the general scholarship fund of each of the 29 participating campuses in the names of the students who were honored.
The program also celebrates the roles played by teachers and parents in shaping student aspirations for a college education. After being chosen by their college, the students then named the elementary or secondary teacher who most influenced them to attend college. These teachers will each receive a $500 professional development award.
Attending the banquet in addition to the students, parents and teachers were special guests, presidents of the colleges, and the campus coordinators of the “Realizing the Dream” program. In attendance as the campus coordinator for Huntington College was Ms. Martha J. Smith, Director of Career Development.
The keynote speaker at this year’s dinner was Mr. Charles W. Ainlay, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer, and Buckingham. He is a first-generation graduate of Goshen College.
Dr. Louis C. Gatto, director of the program, praised the accomplishments of those honored in past years. According to Dr. Gatto, “recently completed studies for the previous classes reveal a 90% graduation rate, which is approximately double the national collegiate graduation rate. There is no better incentive than this success story to encourage college attendance by others who do not have the benefit of a family college tradition.”
Founded in 1897, Huntington College is a Christian college of the liberal arts, offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in nearly 50 academic concentrations. US News and World Report ranks the College among the best Midwestern liberal arts colleges. Huntington College has also been listed among the “201 Best Colleges for the Real World.”
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