A 2019-2020 Phillips Alumni Scholar
A 2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar
2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Messiah College ’22) Ashley Levesque graduated from Maine’s Scarborough High School in 2017, where she was active in Key Club, Student Council, and several sports teams. During her junior year of high school, she participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua and there met fellow missionaries who were participating in the World Race Gap Year program: a nine-month international mission trip. She felt herself drawn to follow in their footsteps, “escaping America’s mold in order to pursue the road less traveled.” She said, “As time passed I began to get a deeper urge and ambition to go. Consequently, on September 9th, 2017, I stepped off of American soil onto a plane to Cambodia.” The trip continued to Thailand, Honduras, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. She was teaching English at Buddhist schools, counseling victims of human trafficking, assisting patients at community hospitals, contributing to construction projects, and more.
This experience was deeply faith-confirming for Ashley. In her own words, “Throughout my trip, the thing that got me through the hard times, the good times, and the times where all I wanted was a pair of clean socks, was God’s love. It was in the midst of the scenery around me or the little toddler that gave me a smile and a wave or the widow who washed my feet.”
Since returning to the United States and moving on campus at Messiah College, where she is a member of the field hockey team, Ashley has continued to live a life that is grounded in her faith. “Transitioning from serving God in the bush of Africa to a turf field in America has opened up my eyes to see that I can have a radical impact wherever I go,” Ashley said. “The truth of the matter is that love is all around us and even in us, wherever we find ourselves in the world.”
A 2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar
2018-2019 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Wentworth Institute of Technology ’22) John Khuc graduated from the Boston Latin School this past June. He still remembers when he entered the doors: “I was literally a sponge ready to soak in all the new things I could do.” After joining several clubs, he said “I felt like I was a flower blossoming!” Two volunteer organizations, Recycling Club and Wolfpack Volunteers, had an especially strong impact. “It was through volunteering that I developed a deep passion for helping others and creating strong connections with new people.” This inspired John to find volunteering opportunities outside of school, which is how he became involved with Boston Cares. Through Boston Cares, he has done a myriad of services for the community including knitting hats for babies, working in a food pantry, cleaning city streets, distributing food and care packages, and many more.
John also found jobs that were other-oriented, working as a tutor through both the All Dorchester Sports League and the Young People’s Project. “Both jobs allowed me to work with children and it was such a blessing to be able to not only teach them but also provide emotional support whenever they needed it. I was able to work with kids from low-income families which allowed me to relate and create the best experience for them.”
On top of the great causes John contributed to as a volunteer and a tutor, he found time to explore his interest in robotics through the Boston Latin School’s NUTRONS club. His growing love of STEM activities motivated him to choose a college with a strong computer science program.
This fall, John began his college career at Wentworth Institute of Technology, a school where he can major in computer science and continue his professional development through co-ops. He plans to become “an active innovator on the frontier of technological advancements” and to leave behind “a legacy I can come back to and be proud of!”
A 2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar
2017-2018 Alumni Scholar Matthew Zienkiewicz (George Mason University ’21) dedicated over 500 hours to his community through the Smithfield Police Explorers Program, in his hometown of Smithfield, Rhode Island. Matthew told us, “I have always respected men and women in uniform and admired them for their service to our country and community… As a young Explorer I have met many influential police officers who took interest in me and my pursuit of a law enforcement career. Some of them became my mentors and guided me… I have learned how to discipline myself in order to set and accomplish goals, which helped me balance my high school career, part time job, and community service.”
His involvement with the Smithfield Police Explorers Program included working on traffic details during town events, educating young children about bike safety, and living on a military base for a week each summer to experience police academy training. Reflecting on these experiences, Matthew attributes them with “instilling the core values of discipline, stress management, uniformity, and honor.”
This fall Matthew started college at George Mason University in Virginia. Matthew looks forward to continuing his progress towards a career in law enforcement: “While majoring in Criminology, I will also work to receive a concentration study within Homeland Security by completing classes such as Community Policing, Theory and Politics of Terrorism, Constitutional Law, and Surveillance and Privacy in Contemporary Society,” he said.
A 2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar
2017-2018 Phillips Alumni Scholar (Emmanuel College ’21) Elizabeth Suarez has been very active in her community of Lawrence, Massachusetts. She volunteered her time visiting the elderly, sorting through donated items for a local thrift shop, and often, serving food at soup kitchens. Elizabeth recalled, “I started doing these activities when I was younger, so these activities have always been a part of me… when you see other people who may not have everything you have, and live a different life than the one you live, it changes you and builds you up. It makes you always want to find a way to help, whether it is serving food or simply having a conversation with a person who comes to the kitchen that day.” She credits her grandmother with teaching her to serve others when she was just a child, so that now the desire to help others is completely ingrained in her.
As Elizabeth grew older, she translated her volunteering experience into the foundation of a career. The summer before her senior year of high school, she took on a job in nutritional services at Lawrence General Hospital. This past summer she told us, “Now, I am going off to college and have pursued a new job called Bring Care Home where I am a Personal Care Assistant and a Homemaker. I provide home health care services in the form of help and support for those who need it. Throughout my college experience I hope to continue with this job or in the area as it is something I love to do.” As she pursues her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emmanuel College, Elizabeth knows that no matter what, “I will continue helping others and leaving my mark on people in a positive manner.”
A 2015-2016 Phillips Alumni Scholar
2015-2016 Alumni Scholar Kathleen Hemingway (University of New England, ’19) hails from beautiful but small Block Island in Rhode Island, where she founded the Student Leadership Team in the K-12 Block Island School. Growing out of an internship with the school social worker, the team is her response to the challenge, “What is one thing you would change at school?” Remembering her own middle school years as a time of sometimes awkward transitioning, Kathleen sought a way to make life for the younger students less intimidating while also serving as a good role model for them. Her sophomore year, she used extensive surveys and meetings with faculty to determine the need for the program and the willingness of the high schoolers to serve as mentors. Kathleen and her advisor decided that the program would hold fun activities for the middle school at least once a quarter while offering mentoring, tutoring and help with specific skill sets for students from kindergarten through seventh grade. Students would be referred through the office, and then the leadership team would match the student to an appropriate Leader. The Leader then developed the specific action plan for the student in concert with the parent(s). The plan included an end date, although the student and mentor could opt to continue if both felt the partnership was working. The Leadership Team also created appealing quarterly activities and carefully documented each event to evaluate its success and facilitate the planning for the following years. These events included scavenger hunts, movie nights, picnics and themed holiday parties.
“Overall, the team has made incredible strides to give kids the opportunity to feel like themselves and show them that, regardless of what they may think, there are people out there who care about them and are willing to listen. I was surprised by the impact the program had on the Student Leaders as well. They learned how to handle difficult, unforeseen circumstances, to plan, implement and evaluate an event and work with the faculty. I learned how to admit when I need help and ask for it and how to lead a group while giving everyone a voice. I will carry the lessons I have learned from my peers, the students and the adults involved for the rest of my life. One person can really make a difference, and I can be that person.”
The Leadership Team is in good hands to continue even though Kathleen is now at University of New England. So far, she is involved with Habitat for Humanity and the Education Club. Her work-study job is service-oriented: Through America Reads /America Counts she tutors at a local elementary school, currently her favorite activity. She looks forward to becoming an elementary school teacher.
Look out for our new and improved application in January