Top Students Earn Leadership Awards
Two Westmont students won David K. Winter Servant Leadership Awards for showing vision, courage, humility, integrity and competence as leaders. Angela D’Amour, dean of student engagement, introduced the 22nd annual awardees, Ebun Kalejaiye ’23 of Rancho Palos Verdes and Eden Lawson ’24 of Redlands, on April 1 in chapel.
Kalejaiye serves as co-leader of the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Debate Club and team manager of the women’s basketball team. She has also taught Sunday school to fourth and fifth graders at OceanHills Covenant Church and interned at a nonprofit legal center.
“I love being able to know that I made life even just a tiny bit easier for someone else and have had even the tiniest impact on someone else's life,” Kalejaiye says. “The internal satisfaction of knowing that I can play a small part in helping us get closer to how God intended us to be is more than enough encouragement to do all I can for others. The most important thing is seeing someone else’s heart change.”
Kalejaiye says her motto has been to do what needs to be done. “I get the satisfaction from seeing those things happen,” she says. “It has oriented my heart and mind to be open to what the Lord is saying needs to be done. It’s helped teach me humility since my mindset has to become, ‘let God's will be done.’”
Lawson served in leadership roles as a resident assistant (RA), an admissions intern and with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He says his mother, a fourth grade teacher, made sure each of her students felt seen. “I’m referring to an overwhelming love that has no expectation of identity, success or emotion,” he says. “Being seen means being loved when you cannot love yourself. Being seen means being affirmed when nobody else has been affirming. If I can just make a few people within my lifetime feel seen, then I’ll have made an impact.”
He credits his leadership ability to his mother and others who shaped and formed it in him over the years. “Every one of us has an innate desire to be seen,” he says. “So I want to encourage all of us to see others in a fuller, more honest and unexpected way.”
The award recognizes the late David K. Winter, who served as Westmont’s president from 1976-2001 and returned as interim president and chancellor in 2006-2007.
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