The Bobbit Arts Auditorium was packed with students, faculty and community members last Wednesday, April 13, as more than 20 individuals received Legacy Awards. This is the most award recipients ever to be awarded for their success and accomplishments.
“[This event] represents legacy, a period of excellence,” said Dr. Harry Bonner Sr., the executive director for Kids at Hope. “The people that are going to receive the legacy awards are the ones that have established a career of excellence.”
These awards are given to students and kids from the community who have reached out to connect the college and the community together. A lot of this work is done through the Kids at Hope program and the mentoring program.
“A lot of people that receive the awards are mentors here at Kids at Hope,” said Bonner.
These awards are handed out under the college professors’ names and under the community leaders’ names to college students and the kids in Albion. However, there was a new award this year, one in the name of Candace Cullens, a Grand Rapids senior at Albion College.
“The one under my name came from the mentoring program and just being involved in the community … making sure we’re bridging the gap between the community and the college and making sure the kids have positive role models in their lives,” said Cullens.
The mentoring program led by Cullens focuses on the kids in fourth and fifth grade, pairing them up with students from the college to mentor them.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s definitely beneficial, and I’m really glad this semester that I can mentor two kids because that’s where my passion is at,” said Cullens.
Last year Cullens was awarded by Barbara Keyes for interning with Harry Bonner as a mentor at the Kids at Hope Program. This year she was awarded by Pam Schuler for her reestablishment of the mentoring program and working with the community.
The two students who were awarded under Cullens’ name were seniors Clare Kolenda and Theresa Hencsie.
At the Legacy Awards, twenty awards were handed out, including Terek Straham awarded under Joe Domingo, the mayor of Albion; Alena Faroog under Lenn Reid and Patrick McLean; Alexis Tillery under Dr. Jess Roberts; Emily Walz under Dr. Barb Keyes; Autumn Bernicky under Dr. Andy French; Sydney Martin under Dr. Wesley Dick; Theron Barlow under Mandy Dubiel; Victoria Della Pia under Mary Ann Egnatuk; Rhiki Swinton under Dave Egnatuk; Zaire Reid under Mae Ola Dunklin; Carles Summerour under Robert Dunklin; Brianna Blake and another student by the name of Brianna Blake under Hazel Lias; Candace Cullens under Pam Schuler; Thailan Taylor under Larry Davis; Travell Oakes under Jody May and Alex Hicks under Dr. Harry Bonner Sr.