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CCC&TI/CECHS Student Regional Finalist for Statewide Leadership Award

Published: 4/27/2022

Caldwell County native and May 2022 Caldwell Early College and Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute Graduate Sarah McLean is not a typical graduate and was definitely not a typical student. In addition to earning both her high school diploma and her associate degree in just five years, she also racked up a long list of accomplishments and leadership experiences that helped her standout among her peers. That impressive list of achievements, involvement and service also recently earned McLean recognition as a regional finalist for the Governor Robert Scott Leadership Award.

In 2004, the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents created the Governor Robert Scott Leadership Award to recognize student leadership on a statewide level while also honoring former Governor Bob Scott. This is an award designed to highlight outstanding curriculum student leadership and service. The Instructional Administrators Association screens and selects one award winner and five regional finalists for recognition.

Sarah McLean

During her time at CECHS and CCC&TI, McLean maintained a 4.0 academic average while also serving as Student Government Association Senator and Treasurer, President of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society, Vice-President of CCC&TI’s Ambassadors and the Public Relations Coordinator for CCC&TI’s Global Scholars Club. In addition to serving in these leadership roles, she’s also been a member of CCC&TI’s Science Club, High Altitude Balloon Competition Team and the Alpha Omega Non-denominational Christian Club. McLean has also been involved with the CECHS Beta Club, Interact Club and Environmental Club, just to name a few.

When McLean is not attending classes or school activities, she’s also a competitive dancer, is actively involved in her church, the local 4-H Club, Caldwell UNC Health Care Medical Explorers and has served as a Caldwell UNC Healthcare Junior Volunteer.

In her essay to the selection committee, McLean shared that in each role and in every activity, her goal has been to be fierce, respectful, determined, and willing to learn. “Throughout my time as a diverse leader, I have learned: communication is key, never lose sight of the end goal, and take each failure as a learning opportunity,” said McLean. “I am leading others to serve others. No matter how big or how small the assignment is, it can make a huge difference and positively impact the lives of many.”

Kimberly Lackey, CCC&TI’s Student Activities Director and SGA Advisor, spoke directly to McLean’s sense of service in her letter of recommendation to the award committee. “I see Sarah as a leader who has a servant heart and mentality. She looks where a need is going unmet and looks to meet that need and bring others along through fellowship,” said Lackey. “The thing that drives Sarah is her belief in and love of others.”

CCC&TI Instructor Matt Williams also wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for McLean where he spoke of her commitment to her studies, her extra work during the difficult COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and her long list of campus activities and volunteer work. “I would say her most marked personality traits come down to this: she has the desire and the drive to do things well, paired with the humility to accept good counsel and the flexibility to continue in the face of frustration and setbacks,” said Williams. “Sarah has been so heavily involved with a variety of service organizations while she has been at our college. These groups do a great deal of good to serve people who are in need in our college community and our greater community.”

In just a few days, McLean will graduate with both her Caldwell Early College High School diploma and her CCC&TI associate degree. She plans to transfer to Gardner-Webb University and double major in Exercise Science and Psychology. From there, McLean hopes to move on to medical school and pursue a career as a physician’s assistant.

CCC&TI Congratulates Sarah McLean on being named a Regional Finalist for the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents’ 2022 Governor Robert Scott Leadership Award.