Seniors receive student leadership awards

first_imgEditor’s note: A shortened version of this article ran in April 20 print edition of The Observer.Seven graduating seniors received awards from Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs at the annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet held March 31, according to a University press release.Keri O’Mara | The Observer The press release stated Student Affairs will also honor graduate student Aamir Ahmed Khan at the Graduate School Awards Ceremony on May 15.“Humbled” was the descriptor of choice for students who received awards.Senior Matthew Wong, who received the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., Award, said he was “very surprised and honored and very humble for sure.”This year’s recipient of the Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, senior Megan Heeder, said she was “very humbled and grateful for the recognition that I’ve been somewhat successful in my desire to make a positive impact on the lives of other people here.”According to the press release, each of the eight awards acknowledges particular leadership qualities in students “who have made exceptional contributions to the Notre Dame community.”The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., Award celebrates a senior who has promoted a spirit of diversity and inclusion during his or her time on campus and was awarded to Wong for his service as chair of the Diversity Council of Notre Dame, according to the press release.“I think [this award] really shows that Notre Dame is putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront,” he said. “It’s acknowledging students who are taking steps to making Notre Dame more welcoming, regardless of socioeconomic background, race, gender, ethnicity — whatever it may be.”Wong said the accomplishments of the Diversity Council — which include last year’s submission of a 10-point resolution containing recommendations on diversity to the administration — are the result of the combined efforts of the entire board.“Without them, all of the stuff we’ve done as a council would have been impossible. There’s no way I could have carried all that weight by myself,” he said.The Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, presented to Heeder for her involvement in the Robinson Community Learning Center’s Youth Development AmeriCorps and the Center for Social Concern’s Summer Service Learning Program, honors a student who has demonstrated leadership, athletic ability and a love for the Catholic faith, according to the press release.Heeder, who participated as a three-sport varsity athlete her freshman through junior years, said she was honored to receive the award because it acknowledged her “some degree of success in creating a positive change in the lives of other people.”“Because if I leave here without doing that, then what was the point of being here at all?” she said.The Mike Russo Spirit Award highlights a student’s service and personal character, and was given to former student body president Lauren Vidal for her efforts regarding campus safety, mental health awareness and community outreach, the press release stated.“Having an opportunity to really listen to those around me and speak on their behalf in larger conversations about campus climate or need fueled my efforts each day,” Vidal said. “I learned that it is only when you follow the needs of your peers and school, when you put their needs first, that you truly lead in the role.”The Rev. A. Leonard Collins, C.S.C., Award was presented to former student government chief of staff Juan Rangel for his dedication in serving the interests of the student body, according to the press release. Particularly, the award recognized Rangel’s commitment to increasing support for students of high financial need and undocumented students.“I think, especially with us all being college students, it’s really easy to become individualistic and think about the needs and necessities that we ourselves have — we need to go to office hours, and we need to get good grades, and we need to find a job,” Rangel said. “But there’s so many concerns that we have ourselves, that we sometimes forget the concerns of others around us.”Rangel, who served as the 2014-2015 Campus Ministry multicultural intern, also co-founded and became president of the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy in order to raise awareness about immigration issues and to stimulate outreach to undocumented students, he said.“I feel so lucky to have met so many people on campus who have supported me through my crazy endeavors,” he said.The Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Leadership Award, given to senior Grace Carroll for her work coordinating this year’s Campus Ministry Freshman Retreat, honors a student “who embodies Blessed Fr. Moreau’s vision of educating heart and mind, as well as someone who has demonstrated significant effort to advancing the Catholic character of the University,” the press release stated.“I was really surprised to get the award, never expected to get it,” Carroll said. “I’m just doing what everyone around me is trying to do, and that’s just trying to be a better person every day.”Carroll, also the Campus Ministry representative in student government, said she believes the freshman retreat and Campus Ministry are important to the campus community because they encourage students to reflect upon their daily lives.“Our generation, often we find God in relationships, and we find God through service,” she said. “I think it’s really important that when we’re doing service, we’re remembering why we’re doing it, and I think in Campus Ministry, we’re trying to make that connection more intentional.”The John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award recognized senior Christina Gutierrez for her commitment to service in the greater South Bend community, according to the press release. Gutierrez said she specifically received the award for her work volunteering and fundraising for the Monroe Park Grocery Cooperative in South Bend and for her service as president of the Notre Dame chapter of the World Hunger Coalition.“I’ve been blessed to have free time and to have resources to provide to other people who need them more,” she said. “Getting to use that for a greater purpose and for an issue that’s really important to me — hunger and malnutrition and healthy eating — and getting to pair that up with meeting people from the South Bend community, I think is really cool.”Gutierrez said she has been involved with the Monroe Park Grocery Cooperative since the end of her freshman year and that during her sophomore year, she directed a project to design and sell a calendar cookbook which raised nearly $5,000 for the cooperative.“It’s a great sense of fulfillment knowing that you can engage in a community that you don’t necessarily live in, but that you’re still more broadly a part of,” she said.The Denny Moore Award for Excellence in Journalism acknowledges a graduating senior who, according to the press release, exhibits exemplary character and writing ability.The press release stated this year’s recipient, Jonathan Warren, was granted the award for his achievements as the former Editor-in-Chief of Scholastic and for his service as the public relations director for The Shirt Project.“I think Notre Dame’s values, those of educating the whole person and serving others, values I’m told Denny Moore exemplified, really lend themselves to a meaningful education in journalism,” Warren said. “I’ve been grateful to work with other students, professors and mentors who have helped me to explore journalism as a practice of empathy and service to others.“My role with Scholastic has allowed me to meet so many incredible people, and students in particular, whose stories have inspired me. … Ultimately, I owe so much to the writers, editors and our adviser, Bob Franken, for their help and for giving me the platform to try to deeply explore this campus.”The Sister Jean Lenz, O.S.F., Leadership Award, to be presented to Khan for his accomplishments as the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 president of the Muslim Student Association, distinguishes a graduate student who promotes a welcoming and diverse atmosphere on campus, according to the press release.“I was very overwhelmed,” Khan said, recalling the moment he learned he was to receive the award. “This is undoubtedly the biggest extracurricular recognition that I have ever received throughout my career.”Tags: Awards, Commencement, division of student affairs, Seniors, student leadership awardslast_img read more

Amaju Pinnick: The Architect of Revitalised Super Eagles

first_imgHaving successfully put the house in order, Pinnick whose chairmanship of Delta Football Federation and tenure as director general of Delta Sports Commission recorded 288 medals including 114 gold, 99 silver and 75 bronze medals for the state, beamed his searchlight on coaches and gradually, the national teams were all allocated new coaches, giving preference to ex-internationals alongside other contenders.Ex –International, Sunday Oliseh was subsequently appointed to coach the Super Eagles and he had a short stint with the team before he was replaced by a German Coach, Gernot Rohr, an experienced tactician who has coached the national teams of Burkina Faso and Gabon.Pinnick then undertook the tour of Europe and other top leagues in the world where he met and discussed with several Nigerian players. The result was the influx of new faces into the national teams, with a resurgence of interest by different players in playing for the Super Eagles.A new era gradually emerged and competition for places in the team became tough, thereby raising the standard of the team.Within two years, a new Super Eagles gradually evolved and from different friendlies to competitive matches, the team began to win the confidence of the nation, with the coaches putting them through different tactical regimen towards achieving the best formation. Before long, the best eleven, backed by a formidable bench that can support the team at all times emerged.Within a year, the country’s ratings on FIFA ranking improved tremendously.Though Nigeria missed out of the African Cup of Nations, it was an important learning curve and with 100 per cent support from the Pinnick-led NFF, the national team forged ahead undeterred.Among the new faces that  have now become household names in the national team are Leon Balogun, a fast improving central defender with Mainz FC in Germany; Troost Ekong of Bursador in Turkey, who partners Leon in the defence, Odion Ighalo, Moses Simon, Abdullahi Shehu, Ola Aina, Kelechi Ihenacho, Alex Iwobi, Wilifed Ndidi ,Tyron Ebuechi and others. They have joined the likes of Ogenyi Onazi, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Oghenekaro Etebo and Elderson Echiejile in forming a rock solid national team.The 2018 World Cup qualifiers commenced in earnest and the Eagles were drawn in Group D alongside Algeria, Cameroun and Zambia.The team started the qualifiers with a victory in Ndola, Zambia where the Zambian National team, Chipolopolo were defeated by two goals to one with goals coming from Leicester city’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal.Next was the top African side, Algeria who were rated as the best African side in the last World Cup and occupied the top spot in African football ranking. The Eagles thrashed the desert foxes by three goals to one at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo to move up to the commanding position in the Group with six points.After a long break, the qualifiers resumed in August, but before then the Eagles comprising mostly upcoming players lost by 2 goals to nil to the well prepared Bafana Bafana in the 2018 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. This was a strong lesson for the Eagles and a wake-up call, especially in the World Cup qualifiers.Immediately, the Pinnick-led NFF board sprang to action and the technical team was given a marching order. The team bounced back from the setback with victories in different friendlies. It was also reinforced with regular players that missed the Bafana Bafana match.The result of the action of the NFF was more than what Nigerians bargained for. The rampaging Super Eagles thrashed the defending champion of African Cup of Nation, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun, picking four out of six maximum points. The Lions lost by four un-replied goals in Uyo and forced the Eagles to1-1 draw in Yaounde in the return leg of the round-robin encounter. The Eagles then extended their lead at the top of Group D, posting a total of 10 points.Meanwhile, the Pinnick-led NFF started as early as September to put all plans in place to ensure that the Chipolopolos crash in Uyo on October 7 in order to facilitate easy passage to the 2018 World Cup for the Eagles and making the final qualifying match against Algeria a mere formality by end of the year.This came to pass when the Zambians came calling in Uyo and were beaten by a lone goal scored by Arsenal’s Iwobi. Thus, the Super Eagles became the first African country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. What a feat!Our Football is gradually taking shape and the sky is the limit. The Pinnick touch has paid off and the Eagles are not looking back. Next is the resumption of 2018 Nations Cup qualifiers and the Eagles are set to make Nigeria proud again.Perhaps it is pertinent at this juncture to ask who is Amaju Pinnick?Amaju was born as the 15th of 19 children to the family of Chief Oritsetimeyin Japhet Pinnick. He graduated from the University of Benin, with a second class upper in Political Science and Public Administration in 1994.  From Primary School through Secondary to University level and afterwards, Pinnick has always been involved in football and Nigeria has started to benefit from his experience and expertise.In March 2017, Pinnick won a seat into the Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football.He defeated incumbent Moucharafou Anjorin of Benin Republic by 32 to 17 votes at the CAF elective Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Nigeria thus made a return to the highest organ in CAF since the exit of Dr. Amos Adamu.As the Super Eagles march forward to the 2018 World Cup, setting good examples for other national teams including the Flying Eagles, U-23, U-20, U-17 and Super Falcons, one could only hope that the new found aura of victory around the senior national team would stimulate an enduring rebirth for Nigerian football.A new era beckons in Nigeria Football. The Pinnick magic is paying off.–Mohammed ibn Mohammed is the Sports Communications Manager @First World Communications @Consulting Limited, Lagos.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Working with clear focus, Amaju Pinnick triumphed over initial distractions including litigation and instantly began consultations with football stakeholders across the country with a single minded objective of forming a united and focused football body that would work assiduously towards uplifting Nigerian football.Next was the strategic plan. Working side by side with the NFF executives, particularly the Chairman of the League Management Committee, a tested football administrator, Mallam Shehu Dikko and Mr.Seyi Akinwunmi, another experienced football bureaucrat, who are both Vice Presidents in the Nigeria Football Federation Board, the Pinnick-led Board came up with series of innovations and modern techniques in managing the national teams. One of this is the periodic visits to different clubs across the world where our national team players ply their trade. This has improved the hitherto frosty relationship between the country and the clubs, especially on timely release of players for national teams’ assignments. When Amaju Melvin Pinnick emerged as the President of Nigeria Football Federation on September 30, 2014, little did football loving Nigerians know that a messiah who will revolutionise the game had hit the Glass House in Abujalast_img read more