As a junior, Emily received the Mary Parker Moncure Vaden Endowment Award, one of many established endowments at the School that, through the generosity of Collegiate families, enable students to travel and explore areas of interest during the summer. The award allowed her to attend the National Student Leadership Conference on Mastering Leadership at Georgetown University, during which she fine-tuned her leadership skills through interactive workshops, community service projects and meetings with community leaders, government officials and heads of nonprofit organizations.
“The training I received from the conference helped me organize this camp at Collegiate,” Emily said. Her interest in serving the Chinese-American community, of which she is a member, stemmed from serving as president of Collegiate’s Chinese Club and her desire to connect her School and personal interests.
The Endowment Committee assigned Emily a mentor, Clare Sisisky, Collegiate’s Institute for Responsible Citizenship Director. Emily worked with Mrs. Sisisky on the idea of hosting the camp, co-sponsored by the Organization of Chinese Americans Central Virginia Chapter and Collegiate, to bridge the School community with the Richmond Chinese community.
“Emily has hit the ground running putting into practice what she learned through her leadership development program at Georgetown,” Mrs. Sisisky said. “She is a great example of how the summer endowment award program asks students to develop themselves as leaders and then give back to Collegiate students and our community.”
The camp, which welcomed Chinese-American students from area schools in the 1st to 6th Grade, aims to promote their self-esteem and confidence through lessons on Chinese music and dance, martial arts, arts and crafts, English and math, financial management, healthy lifestyle, self image, teamwork, project management, presentation/communication skills and how to cope with bullying.
In preparation for the weeklong camp, Emily spent the summer assigning jobs and training Collegiate Middle and Upper School students who are studying Chinese to serve as volunteers. Participating students were Davis Messer, Jack Smithson, Michael Lansing, Becky Pahren, Anne Ross Hope, Charlotte Harrison, Lena Bullard and William Bradley.
“It’s amazing to see the fruit of all my planning coming out,” Emily said. “It’s been really successful. I like to bring my heritage and culture to the community.”