Follow the Leader
February 10, 2016
Leadership: An act of guidance; inspiring other individuals. These traits were recently recognized in senior Nia McClendon.
McClendon was named as part of the Daily Herald’s Lake County Leadership Team, which consists of a group of 10 students, usually seniors, who show leadership through community service. Schools within the county each nominate two students and then other officials choose who becomes a part of the team.
Once a student is nominated, there is an application that must be filled out by the student, explaining what service projects they have done. From there, a group of judges reads all the applications and they decide who will be a part of this team.
Danielle Vrba, also an LHS senior, was nominated for a spot on the team. Although Vrba did not get a spot on the team, she was named as an honorable mention.
McClendon does various volunteer work in the community. At LHS, she is in Interact and UNICEF club. In addition to school clubs, she volunteers at her church, Bernie’s Book Bank, and is a member of Juniorettes, a group of people who get together monthly to do service projects, and Girl Scouts.
On Jan. 5, McClendon received an email that she is now a member of the Leadership Team.
“I was really surprised. I feel like there was so many other people that also could have made it too,” said McClendon. “It’s a really big honor to know that what I was doing, volunteering, helping people, is not only making a difference to the people I was helping but other people have noticed that too. And they felt it was necessary for me to get recognition for what I was doing.”
McClendon’s passion for volunteering has developed over time.
“It’s not been something that I always liked to do but over time, being able to interact with the people I’m helping and listening to how I’m helping is making a difference on them … has really pushed me to keep on going,” said McClendon.
Volunteering is something that her mom does, and she initially taught McClendon the values of volunteering. She taught Nia that helping people is very important and should be done for the greater good.
McClendon has done many service projects that make a difference in the life of others.
WISH season is a time of year where all the third period classes at LHS are given a group or family and raise money for what that family puts on their wish list. The students then go out and buy the gifts. At the WISH dinner, the families come to the school and get dinner. The kids get to play and they are given their gifts for the holidays.
For this event, McClendon is willing to help with anything but excelled with helping set up the craft table.
“She’s really creative. One of the things she focused her attention to was the craft table for the kids. She would get supplies and projects together and everything. She would really take the lead on that and I always knew I could count on her,” explained Mrs. Uliks, student activities director and WISH coordinator.
This past year, as part of their work with Interact, McClendon and senior Kimber Garland decided to make care packages for the military. The idea was originally Garland’s but they both worked very hard on the project. They gathered all the supplies and boxed them all up. A troop was assigned anonymously.
On many occasions, McClendon and Garland would stay after school to count supplies, create supply lists, and make sure everything was in order. All of Interact was a big help, but they were the ones who put in that extra effort.
“It’s easy to do service when people are thanking you and you see the result right away. It’s harder to do service, I think, when they aren’t getting that feedback necessarily. You just have to know in your heart that you are making a difference, even though you can’t always see the good that can come of it. I think Nia’s got that. I think she believes in the service she does and good comes out of the service she does,” stated Mrs. Uliks.
Nia McClendon is a “quietly passionate, driven, helpful girl with a passion for volunteering,” stated Mrs. Uliks.