By Daegiona Wilson
There are many students on campus who illustrate what it means to be a Builder. There are some who embody these qualities more than others.
In honor of gradation, the college annually honors six seniors with the title “Masterbuilder.”
This years Masterbuilder recipients are Tessa Castor, Marissa Evans, Sheldon Hawthorne, D’Morea Horton, Claren McCormick and Daren Reed.
Castor has been involved in 9 Lives, Philanthropy Board, Leadership, Student Government Association, Builder Camp, Newspaper editor in chief, and is a Scholar of the College.
Castor has enjoyed building relationships with friends, faculty and staff. Two mentors that have inspired her includes Brae Wood, director of leadership, and Cheryl Rude, professor of leadership studies.
“They balance each other out perfectly. Cheryl pushes back on what I believe and helps me see perspectives I’m blind to, and Brae gives me her heart and remains a constant supporter. They are the perfect mix of tough love and encouragement. The lessons I learned from them have changed who I am as a person, and I will forever credit them for that growth.”
Castor said being a Moundbuilder is an honor. She believes that many students deserve the title and she is blessed that her peers and professors believed she should receive the award.
Marissa’s extracurricular activities include basketball, Presidential Advisory Council, EdBuilders, President of Student Foundation, Student Government Senator, a Resident Assistant, and an OL/OTL/Special Assistant for Builder Camp.
Evans has enjoyed events that bring individuals together to support one another.
“Whether it be a basketball game, 9Lives, Homecoming, the Moundbuilding Ceremony, the Block Party, everyone truly enjoys being around each other at those events. Those events create so many smiles, laughs, and unforgettable memories.”
Evans said that a mentor who has inspired her is Anjaih Clemons, Director of Campus Life.
“Her positivity is contagious and the love that she has for the students of SC is obvious. No matter who it is that walks into her office, she always greets them with a smile on her face. She is constantly caring for others while still knowing when it’s time to take care of herself.”
Being a Masterbuilder means embracing SC for what the college is, said Evans. “Someone who displays what Southwestern College is all about.”
Hawthorne has participated in Impact/FCA, 9 Lives, tennis, Student Foundation and Student Government Association.
What he has enjoyed most at SC is the people. Hawthorne said having good relationships with many people has elevated his life.
A mentor that inspires him is Justin Williams, former Wallingford Resident Director.
“He is a very wise and intelligent man who truly cares for the well-being of others. He encouraged me to become the best version of myself spiritually which translated very well to all other aspects of my life. #HouseDad.”
Becoming a Masterbuilder is special to Hawthorne. “It means that the student body believes that you possess what it means to be a builder and that I was able to leave a positive impact on those around me.”
Horton has been a part of football, Student Foundation, Student Government Association, and is the Intramural Coordinator.
Making memories with his friends is something he has enjoyed. “They really made my time here worth the headaches and stress.”
Clemons is someone who has inspired Horton as well.
“She has inspired me to take on larger roles in things that I haven’t done before. I never thought that I’d be Intramural Coordinator, Vice President of Student Concerns, and Vice President of Recruitment and Retention all at the same time.”
Horton said that being a Masterbuilder means to show extreme dedication to demonstrating what a builder looks like. “We have all made an impact on a ton of people through our time here, whether it be behind the scenes or on stage.”
McCormick has participated in basketball, Student Government Association, Pi Gamma Mu, Psychology Club, Southwestern Athletic Training Staff and is a Student Ambassador.
During her time at Southwestern she has enjoyed the people.
“No matter where you go, it’s always the people that make your experience.”
Dawn Pleas, Vice President for Student Life, is someone who has impacted McCormick.
“She has challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged and is a wonderful role model when it comes to hope and empowerment.”
McCormick said that representing one of the most incredible classes at SC is what being a Masterbuilder means to her.
“We’ve been through a lot together and I’m so happy to have had this experience,” said McCormick.
Reed is a part of the men’s golf team and pre-health professionals at Southwestern and has enjoyed being with the golf team. He has enjoyed going to builder basketball games and getting to know a lot of good people.
Bob Gallup, professor of physics and mathematics, is someone who has inspired Reed.
“He is one of the most incredible and interesting people I have ever met. I enjoyed every second I was able to be around him and learn from him.”
Reed said he is thankful to be a Masterbuilder.
“When I came to Southwestern College as a freshman I saw people get awarded with the ‘Masterbuilder Award,’ and it was something that I really wanted to be remembered by.”
Daegiona Wilson reported on this story from her home in Wichita, Kansas.