Last updated: December 24. 2013 12:17PM - 2576 Views
Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

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Rachel Baldwin


Behind every donation to the Southern West Virginia Community College Foundation, there’s a story. The details are always inspiring, both in the generosity of those who invest in others’ lives and in the gratitude and determination of those who receive the support.

It’s about honor, vision, integrity, service, civic engagement and leadership.

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, in cooperation with Cotiga Development Company,has established the Appalachian Leadership Academy. The mission of the Appalachian Leadership Academy is to identify Southern students with outstanding character and prepare them with the leadership and diversity skills needed to serve as engaged, conscientious citizens as they enter the business, political, and academic world.

“I love that Cotiga and Southern are collaborating together and making such a great impact on the lives of students and the community as a whole,” said third semester student Miranda Blankenship.

The current students share the desire to become leaders in their communities. They also share the camaraderie and motivation to successfully complete projects that make this program unique. The program emphasis is building a better community, but the students are finding that major changes are happening within their own personal space.

“I had friends in the earlier class and saw them growing and knew this opportunity would stretch me, allow me to grow and open many leadership doors that would broaden my horizons,” said third semester student Cody Justice. “The Academy opened my eyes to aim for higher positions for my future goals.”

Brandy Francis says that she knew she had the potential to be a leader but was having trouble coming “out of her shell.”

She added, “Before becoming a member I was very timid, but now I’ll talk to anyone. I have more confidence in myself and I know that I will be able to better my community.”

Current students agree that the opportunity to participate in the Appalachian Leadership Academy is a life-changing experience. Most remarked that they were quick to see it as a winning situation. They were inspired to be positive and work hard to achieve goals.

“Anyone lucky enough to be a member will gain more than they could ever dream of,” said Rebecca West.

Cotiga Development’s sponsorship is important to Southern. This strategic partnership defines a strong connection between Cotiga, Southern and the community. Cotiga has a tradition of supporting programs at Southern.

Since 1997 Cotiga has donated $498069.00 in support. Since 2004 Cotiga has been able to provide 286 Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College students assistance.

“We are grateful for the support from Cotiga Development. These scholarships make a quality education possible for hard working, ambitious students,” SWVCTC President Joanne Tomblin said.

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