CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Student-athletes who participated in the Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy's Veteran Leaders and Rising Stars programs during the 2011-12 school year gathered at the Loudermilk Center for Excellence on April 9 for the group's annual year-end banquet. In addition to recognizing the graduates of those two programs, the event honored twenty-two outstanding leaders who earned the Leader of Distinction Award.
Recognized for earning the Tar Heel Leader of Distinction Award, the academy's highest honor were: Shannon Beamon (Fencing), Marisa Dobbins (Track & Field), Morgan Evans (Gymnastics), Katelyn Falgowski (Field Hockey), Shinann Featherston (Tennis), Jordan Gafa (Soccer), Haley Hemm (Tennis), Jose Hernandez (Tennis), Marcus Holman (Lacrosse), Krista Jasper (Gymnastics), Zoya Johnson (Gymnastics), Kyle Kiss (Wrestling), Elizabeth Lindley (Gymnastics), Becky Lynch (Lacrosse), Blair Meiggs (Rowing), Jenna Moore (Swimming & Diving), Kevin Nadeau (Fencing), Camilla Powierza (Fencing), Ariel Roberts (Track & Field), Emma Shaw (Rowing), Kirk Urso (Soccer) and Kelli Wheeler (Softball).
Falgowski earned the honor for the third year in a row. Lindley, Moore, Nadeau, Shaw and Wheeler were honored for the second time.
The event also included reflections on the year from three student-athletes and men's tennis coach Sam Paul, who spoke about the importance of the Leadership Academy to his team and all of the UNC athletic programs.
Jarrod James, a freshman on the football team, spoke on behalf of members of the CREED program, which includes all freshmen. "The CREED program helps freshman student-athletes, like myself, transition into a new environment smoothly," James said. "It ensures that our athletic, social and, most importantly, academic needs are met. It encourages all of us to be successful in all endeavors of our lives and to take advantage of our opportunities here at UNC."
C.J. Odenigwe, a sophomore on the men's soccer team, represented the Rising Stars program by reading a poem he wrote. "A leader embodies the Carolina Way, and not only during practice but each and every day," he said, in part. "This program has not only helped me to become a better teammate, but a man. I was given a blueprint of how to lead; this is the plan."
Jennifer Stone, a senior on the women's tennis team, delivered the Veteran Leaders reflection, which she ended by saying, "If you aspire to accomplish a team goal, you must be willing to put yourself last in order for your team to come first. It is this selflessness and ambition for something bigger than yourself that truly defines the aura of a leader and the success of a team."
Jeff Janssen, CLA lead instructor, spoke about the "Ripples of Leadership," telling the student-athletes, "As we acknowledge and celebrate your commitment to leadership here today, know that each of you too now has a big responsibility. Not only are you a part of the original wave of leadership that began as a single drop roughly 10 years ago, but you must continue to add drops of your leadership to your teams, this athletic department, this campus, your hometowns and our world."
The evening was capped by a ceremony honoring Director of Athletics Emeritus Dick Baddour, who was instrumental in founding the Carolina Leadership Academy in 2004. The CLA was renamed in his honor earlier this spring. Several of those who work closely with the academy offered words of appreciation:
"I would like to thank Mr. Baddour for exemplifying everything we teach in the Carolina CREED Program: self-leadership and the ability to "handle our business." You have been a role model for our first years since the beginning by embracing the culture of Carolina, respecting others, expecting our student-athletes to excel academically and athletically and of course committing to leadership and you will continue to inspire."
Cricket Lane, Assistant Director of Athletics, Student-Athlete Development
"Good leaders develop followers. Great leaders develop other leaders. You have certainly done that here with the Carolina Leadership Academy over the last 8 years.
"At our first banquet, I shared the quote by William Gibson, "The future is already here. It is just not evenly distributed." That quote reflects the influence you have had across collegiate athletics with leadership development.
"Because of your vision to start the Carolina Leadership Academy, there are now over 25 schools across the nation, including Duke who is trying to follow in our footsteps, who have started Leadership Academies to develop their student-athletes into better leaders.
"So not only have you helped to develop leaders at Carolina over the last 8 years, you have also helped to inspire and develop leaders across all corners of the country.
Jeff Janssen, Lead Instructor, Carolina Leadership Academy
"I worked under your direct supervision for over 22 years. I have learned a great deal from you during this time...and I continue to. An untold amount. Your creation of the Leadership Academy was both exceptional and typical. It was an exceptional piece of creative problem solving...and it was a typical demonstration of your skills. You managed to see a specific, isolated problem amongst a large number of issues, that is, a lack of leadership among a myriad of behavior problems. You did not get distracted by the behavior issues, you saw the crux of the problem...a lack of leadership. Great leaders define problems accurately.
"But you not only identified the isolated problem, you also had a grandiose vision for the solution. You told me, `When people in this country think of leadership development in college athletics, I want them to think of The University of North Carolina.' Because of your vision, they do. Great leaders have vision for great things. Congratulations."
John Blanchard, Senior Associate Athletic Director