TWU Legacy Leaders share their experiences of preparing for college

TWU Legacy Leaders Serena Fernandez, Sarah Matthew, Lesly Alvarado and Xaria Williams
TWU Legacy Leaders Serena Fernandez, Sarah Matthew, Lesly Alvarado and Xaria Williams

January 14, 2022 – DENTON - Often the key to success in college is taking advantage of the many preparatory opportunities available in high school, especially dual high school and college credit offered by Early College High Schools (ECHS), as four Texas Woman’s Legacy Leaders students discovered. Thanks to the Center for Student Leadership, they not only have continued to thrive in college, but they also had the opportunity to share their experiences and inspire others as well.

Lesly Alvarado, Serena Fernandez, Sarah Matthew and Xaria Williams, all members of the first cohort of Legacy Leaders, a scholarship program designed for student leaders who want to leave a legacy and make an impact in their communities and industries, co-presented at the Pathways to Texas CCMR (College, Career and Military Ready) Summit in Dallas in October 2021. The all-inclusive event for administrators, career and technical education leaders, counselors and higher education staff focused on the pathways that support college, career and military readiness.

CSL Legacy Leaders Presenters

For their presentation, “Partnering to Prepare Students to Learn, Lead and Serve,” each student prepared slides and shared their story as it related to what they learned, how they are leading and how they are serving. They talked about their high school/ECHS journey, as well as their accomplishments at TWU.

“As someone who believes that preparing the next generation of leaders is a shared responsibility, I am always looking for opportunities to build bridges between K-12, higher education and industry partners, so I was so excited when an opportunity presented itself for TWU’s Legacy Leaders to talk about how their experience as dual credit/ECHS students prepared them to excel at TWU, not only as students but also as leaders,” said Lawrencina Mason Oramalu, director of the Center for Student Leadership. “I knew that speaking at the conference would be a great professional development opportunity for the students, and for me, it was extremely rewarding to watch them grow over the weeks spent preparing for the presentation.”

CSL Legacy Leaders Presenters

After the workshop, several participants talked with the students. An administrator who was in attendance also brought two groups of students to campus for tours, and the Legacy Leaders talked to them and answered their questions about college and being a student leader.

“We are hopeful we will see some of those students here as TWU students because they were inspired by the Legacy Leaders and their stories,” said Oramalu.

This was just one of the many opportunities the Center for Student Leadership, part of the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, provides to the Legacy Leaders, with more being planned for the future.

“We definitely want to provide our Legacy Leaders an opportunity to develop important leadership skills such as communication and critical thinking,” said Oramalu. “Hopefully we will be able to continue to find opportunities such as this one for them to speak on campus, in the community and beyond.”

Through all of its programs, the Center for Student Leadership is preparing student leaders who are able to make a positive impact at TWU, in their local communities and in their respective future professions.

“We are not only making sure students are on the path to graduate with a college degree,” said Oramalu, “but we are also creating opportunities to help them learn, lead, serve and develop into confident, competent, engaged and socially responsible leaders.”

Student reflections

“This was a valuable experience and one that I am very thankful for. Once we presented, I was shocked by how many people came up to ask us questions. This showed me the importance of sharing our stories and struggles to help inspire others and bring a sense of hope to them. I can’t wait to help others who are going through similar situations.” -Lesly Alvarado, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Grapevine

“This experience genuinely showed me that you never know how your story could impact others. The responses we received from educators and school staff were phenomenal. Many were excited to see that an ECHS program actually does advance you in your college career in terms of time and money.” -Serena Fernandez, Chemistry, San Antonio

“I enjoyed being able to share my early college dual credit experience and encourage the educators present to share with their students about taking college classes while in high school. I know it is not an easy task, but introducing students to college classes while in high school prepares them for continued academic success and responsibility.” -Sarah Mathew, Nursing, Mesquite

“This was my first professional public speaking experience, so I was really thankful to be able to participate and contribute to the effort to get more students into better early college programs. Preparing the presentations and practicing with the others was especially fun for me because it pushed me outside of my comfort zone.” -Xaria Williams, General Psychology, DeSoto

Media Contact

Ray Willhoft
Director of Communications, Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership

Page last updated 3:38 PM, May 17, 2024