This past fall, EVERFI proudly partnered with BB&T to launch a student blog contest to teachers and students across more than 800 high schools that use the BB&T Financial Foundations program in their classrooms. After students completed the financial education course, they had the opportunity to download and play BB&T’s web-based leadership app, LEGACY: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, and were invited to write a short essay on what leadership means to them.
We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s blog contest!
These four students demonstrated a deep understanding of what leadership means to them, and their thoughtful essays inspired all of us.
Tytiana, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Georgia, shared her views on what it means to be an effective leader:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a good leader. In the minds of some, being a leader is mainly focused on power, will, and fear. However through the LEGACY game I have learned that being a leader is a goal for the common man or woman who seeks change. Leaders have to be relatable to others. Being an effective leader is about learning to understand, having the patience to succeed, and being able to make the best decisions possible for you and others around you.”
Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School in North Carolina, shared his realization that leadership comes in a wide variety of forms:
“There are two sides of a good leader. There is a mental side and a social side. Before playing LEGACY: A Leadership Challenge, I tended to just focus toward the mental side. This means doing anything that they can to get the job done, hoping for a better future, repeating your good habits and eliminating your old. The mental side is very important. But the social side is just as important. To be a good leader, you must be able to communicate with people effectively. This is what I had to do in LEGACY. I had to communicate with the other characters in a kind yet straightforward way. This is what my father, the leader I look up to in my life, does very well. He was a worker at Lowes. He rarely took days off. He was a very social person. Customers tended to wait the extra minute or two just to be served by my dad, something that my whole family is very proud of. My father’s salary was diminutive compared to many other people in society, but he loved his job. That’s what put him above his counterparts. That’s what puts society’s great leaders above the rest. Their drive. Their willingness to work for what they want. That’s where I want to be.”
Lola, a student at Veterans High School in Georgia, wrote about how the LEGACY game expanded her view on what it means to be an effective leader:
“My previous idea of a leader was a person who could wield authority; something like an army sergeant. While authority is a good leadership trait, another commonly overlooked trait a of good leader is tact. People are brought up with their own beliefs and ideas of right and wrong. To be an effective leader, one has to go about the right way of introducing your followers to another way of seeing or doing things — without demeaning what they already know. Being a leader is about so much more than possessing authority; it’s about using your influence to help better others. I can only be grateful that this has been brought to my attention early in life, giving me the opportunity to grow in this area and share my newfound knowledge with others.”
Eric, a student at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina, cited an example of a leader in his life who has inspired him:
“Leadership is a defining quality of an individual. A great leader incorporates a multitude of qualities such as being trustworthy, engaged, and empowering while consistently maintaining a positive outlook under intense stress and against all odds. I learned important leadership qualities over this year’s Academy of Finance summer internship from my mentor, Angus Reid. Everyday Mr. Reid organizes and communicates effectively with different clients, tenants, and workers in an elevated sense of respect, positivity, and initiative. His ability to adapt to each individual’s needs and respectfully delegate tasks make him a fantastic leader.”
Congratulations again to our four winners, who each received a $500 gift card. You all have a bright future ahead of you! And many thanks to the dedicated teachers who submitted these winning essays on behalf of their students.