Leadership Advancement Scholar

It’s crazy thinking back to this time last year. I was about a month into my senior year of high school, just starting to think about where I wanted to go after high school and what I wanted to do with my life in my imminent future.

At some point I decided to apply to Central Michigan University. When you’re applying they show you what scholarships that are offered and what the criteria is to apply for those scholarships. The only one I was able to apply for was the Leadership Advancement Scholarship (LAS). Little did I know that moment would change my life.

Come January I had received an email that I did not receive the scholarship. At that time I did not know what LAS was or what it entailed so I didn’t think twice about it. I honestly was just wondering why I hadn’t gotten it because I knew that I was very involved in leadership and thought I was a good candidate for the scholarship.

In March CMU held a Next Step event in Saginaw, MI and I had convinced my mom, Denice, to go with me and sit with me through everything because I knew if I went I could get my student ID and possibly figure out where I want to live for the upcoming school year. After sitting through the speakers and not paying attention my mom made me go around to the different booths, one of them being the student activities booth. During my talk with them I had said that I was signed up for Leadership Safari and that I was very “fired up” for it. They then proceeded to tell me to go and talk with Dan Gaken at the Leadership Institute table, which I wasn’t planning on going because I felt awkward and thought that I didn’t really need to, but yet again, my mom made me go and talk to him. So I went over and talked to Dan Gaken.

During my talk with Dan I had mentioned the phrase “leadership is basically my life”. Little did I know that those five words would change my life. After saying that Dan had pulled up application and proceeded to tell me that in order to get to the next round of the application I needed 75 points, and I had 74 points. It was at this point I realized who I was talking to, and what he does at CMU. Dan had me email him with a couple more things I had done that I left out and by that Thursday I had a Skype interview, and one week later I received a call that I had made it into LAS. I don’t think I can describe how I felt coming home to find out that I got in. My first reaction was to cry because I was so happy and excited to have gotten it. I had tweeted about what had happened and used the hashtag ‘LAS16’. Within 3o minutes I gained about 40 new followers and was added to the ‘LAS group chat’ and was welcomed by everyone in there. That was probably the first time since November that I felt that overwhelming feeling of acceptance, and it felt great.

I am so thankful for the opportunities that LAS has already given me and highly encourage all high school seniors to apply. Besides the scholarship part of it, you get to be with other people who are leaders just like you.




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