The Student Leadership Awards were presented at the University of Aruba, UA, on September 1st, recognizing outstanding student leaders who significantly enhance learning inside and outside the classroom.
Each year the Office of Student Affairs with the Faculties of the UA coordinate the recognition of achievements by students and student organizations. Students, faculty members, and staff are given the opportunity to suggest nominees for the awards. Nominations are then reviewed by a selection committee. When evaluating nominees for an award, the selection committee examines the extent of the contributions made, by means of leadership, service, and involvement. The committee decisions are then publicly revealed at a festive award ceremony, and are considered final.
Traditionally, the UA awards fall into several categories among them Outstanding Leadership, Outstanding Community Service, and Outstanding Mentoring.
Nominees for the prestigious awards must demonstrate a commitment to the values of justice and caring, they must act from a strong self-concept and think critically and creatively while taking risks willingly, communicating effectively, exercising power appropriately, articulating a positive sense of direction and evoking hope.
This year’s award night, on September 1st, was eloquently and smoothly emceed by students Francis Malca and Jessica Panneflec. The program included a presentation by keynote speaker Shauna Porter, who is a member of the Faculty of Arts & Science, and an address by Taneisha Tromp, a UA graduate, at the onset of her banking career. Both speakers encouraged the students to take responsibility for their future and strive to make a difference in their community.
This evening also showcased student talents with Ester Santos Do Nascimento’s excellent rendition of “I believe I can fly,” and Genevieve Garcia’s Brick by Brick poem, which was recited to a New Age musical background.
An impressive number of awards was presented, each sponsored by a key member of the island’s business community.
Tyson Lopez won the Leadership Award sponsored by the Aruba Investment bank. He was lauded for growth as a leader over the past two years, encouraging students of all faculties to become actively involved in the UA and Aruban community. As a result of his efforts UA has witnessed more interest in Circle K, the collegiate service organization nurtured by the Kiwanis and the community work they do, which is applauded by UA.
Ruell Wester won the Mentoring Peer Students Award sponsored by the Aruba Chamber of Commerce, KVK. He was commended for his willingness to help all students, and even stays late in the library to look for extra information for his peers, as well as discuss study material with professors, for a better grasp of the ideas, in quest of aiding fellow students.
Circle K received the Community Group Award sponsored by Sams Electronics. The group received the distinction for making the difference at UA and recently boosting their activities with great enthusiasm. The students belonging to Circle K, have demonstrated responsibility and involvement, identifying the needs of their community and delivering relevant solutions.
Tracey Nicolaas won the Individual Community Award, sponsored by the University of Aruba. Tracey earned an individual distinction for her perseverance and her readiness to help. Shouldering the full load of her studies and work duties, Tracey still finds time to invest in her community, and she is always the first to pull up her sleeves to benefit any community project. While volunteer work is its own reward, nevertheless UA decided to commend Tracey for her leadership, in appreciation of the goodness she displays.
Ester Santos do Nacimento won the Talent Award, sponsored by Fundacion Donny Lacle. In order to win this award, in support of artistic talent, students were required to present a portfolio of achievements and document their involvement with the UA community. Ester was singled out for her musical talent which she willingly shares. She is truly blessed and hopes to pursue her musical career in the future. This was the first Fundacion Donny Lacle sponsored award, named after the late music-loving journalist. The UA invited the foundation to participate and is very pleased with that initiative.
Geraldo Milton won the Individual Community Award, sponsored by 4Sure Insurance. The award recognized Geraldo’s valuable contributions to children in the Village in San Nicholas where he coaches and teaches basketball. Geraldo who is a full time student and a father of two, works to support his family, yet the recognition of the power of sport compels him to give back to his community. With the individual award, UA recognizes the significance and importance of his actions.
Parlamento Huvenil, received the Community Group Award, sponsored by the Free Zone. The award to the local Youth Parliament serves as an encouragement to young people to keep working on behalf of the community. UA acknowledged the need to embrace, encourage and sustain youth organizations, because of the important roles they play in our community.
The UNIA Magazine Team received the UA Community at Large Group Award, sponsored by Aruba Bank. The Office of Student Affairs at UA launched a student magazine in 2009. While the publication was inconsistent in the past, the university is now proud to award 3 law students who took the initiative to revive it. The magazine which was started by Chun Luk and Fitzhugh Perez in 2009, is currently in excellent hands. Monica Espinoza, Marie Jacques & Velerie Pena were lauded for their effective work as publishers.
At the end of the much enjoyed, celebratory evening, thanks also went to the management of the University of Aruba, to the new business friends of the community and to the Minister of Education Arthur Dowers, for believing in UA’s students, showing continuous support, and enriching student life.
The student award committee who put the program together consisted of Leonie Peterson, Library coordinator, Luciano Milliard, International Affairs Coordinator and the crew of the Office of Student Affairs, including Natalie Henriquez- Solognier, Richard Trimon and coordinator Charisse Hoen- Daly.