On April 10th, a night of celebration took place in the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex Auditorium where families, friends, and faculty of the Saint Anselm College community gathered to recognize the leaders of the class of 2019. This year during the 26th annual Paul S. Coleman Volunteer Service and Leadership Awards, 20 seniors were honored during this prestigious event.
During the first part of the ceremony, Matthew Pendergast ’13 recognized the commitment and hard work of the awardees during their time in Saint Anselm College. He was an active member of the Anselmian community and participated in many programs during his time on the hilltop, such as Road for Hope and various Service and Solidarity trips across the country. After graduating with a Peace and Justice Studies major and a minor in Spanish, Pendergast continued his education at the University of Notre Dame in their Alliance for Education teaching program. Currently, he is an educator and campus minister in Lawrence, MA.
In his final message, Pendergast expressed that he was in the same position not long ago. He urged the senior leaders to keep working on being the best version of themselves while continuing serving and being leaders in their communities.
“You need to find the pulse, the life-blood, the purpose in your new environment […] and if you can’t find that pulse, you need to bring it with you, and you need it to let it shine, and grow, and be a part of your new community.”, he said.
After the keynote speaker, the Department Service Awards were presented to Taylor Head ‘19 (Nursing), Felipe Bispo ’19 (Biology), Mallory Schell ’19 (Nursing), Braelyn Croteau ’19 (Business), Samantha Delaney ‘19 (Biology), Kerrin Norton ’19 (English and Communication), Megan Miller ’19 (Peace and Justice Studies), Pauline Yates ’19 (Computer Science), Abigail Reynolds ’19 (Marketing), Yuliana Vaquerano ’19 (Social Work), Sarah Hummel ’19 (History), and the Saint Anselm College EMS Club, led by Benjamin Moffet ’19 (Criminal Justice), Cara Onyski (Criminal Justice), Caitlin Graham ’19 (English), Matthew Diello ’19 (Nursing), and Mallory Schell ’19 (Nursing), was recognized with the Club or Organization Volunteer Award for outstanding service.
The last important part of the Coleman Awards ceremony was the presentation of two senior awards to students who represent the values and spirit of Paul Coleman. Prior to this, Daniel Forbes, director of the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, provided a brief description of the history and meaning of the Coleman Awards. He expressed that the award was named after Paul S. Coleman, a former professor of the Sociology Department because he “embodied what it meant to serve and volunteer with the intention of bettering the community.”
This year, instead of two recipients, as usual, there were a total of four senior honorees, in the words of Dean Andrew Litz, “they were all excellent candidates that it was hard to pick just one for each award.”
Seniors Grace D’Antuono (International Relations), and Braelyn Croteau (Business) were this year’s recipients of the Paul S. Coleman Senior Service Award for Outstanding Service Engagement. James Bloor (Mathematics) and Kerrin Norton (English and Communication) were recognized with the Paul S. Coleman Senior Service Award for Outstanding Service Leadership.
Sue Gabert, Assistant Dean of Students, gave an opening speech describing Kerrin Norton as a student and as a leader. “Kerrin is comfortable sharing her insights, asking questions, and challenging the status quo. She does this with humility, with her fellow classmates, and with those in need in mind,” she said. Norton has been actively involved in numerous programs and offices on campus, including Orientation Leader, Orientation Leader Committee member, President of the Saint Elizabeth Seton Society, Co-Chair of the Relay for Life Committee, a Service and Solidarity Leader, and an Admission Ambassador, and Student Government Association Room and Board Secretary.
James Bloor expressed he feels honored and privileged to receive the Coleman Award. “I have many positive influences around me here in this campus that I can say, without a doubt, that I am a product of my surroundings”, he said. Bloor is a leader among his fellow students in the Intercultural Center, Campus Ministry, and the Meelia Center for Community Engagement. He is part of the Presidential Committee for Diversity and Inclusion on campus and has been a key collaborator in the development of the Intercultural Center “Open Space, Open Minds” program.
“I am so honored to be a recipient, especially alongside James, Kerrin, and Braelyn who have done so much for both the Manchester and Anselmian Communities”, said D’Antuono. Among the many programs and organizations that she is part of, D’Antuono manages a total of nine community partnerships with the Meelia Center and worked through Campus Ministry to serve and be a positive impact on the Andre House, an organization in Arizona that assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Sue Gabert also introduced Braelyn Croteau before receiving her Coleman award. Gabert mentioned that “Brae puts her heart and soul into our community. She sets an example for other students at the college because she effectively draws connections between her faith and service. She is an exemplary service leader.” Croteau is a student leader involved in many organizations and offices on campus such as Campus Ministry, Campus Activities Board, Meelia Center for Community Engagement, and an active volunteer for the Food, Clothing, and Furniture drive.