LEAD Banquet honors student awardees virtually

The organization sent the videotaped awards to students on April 13


Tori Johnsson

The 7th Annual LEAD Banquet ended up not being a banquet at all, but a video presentation. Despite the coronavirus-related cancellation of the physical banquet, which would have been held in Evans Hall, the LEAD banquet committee managed to put together a video experience to announce its annual awards.

Award presenters filmed individual videos to deliver short speeches about the accomplishments of each recipient, then the videos were stitched together in an hour-long presentation. A few presenters took the opportunity to find unique filming locations. The Outing Club Awards were presented from the top of the Alpine Tower, and the Excellence in Arts Management Award was delivered from a horse pasture. Presenters highlighted the accomplishments of awardees, and some spoke directly to the circumstances and expressed desires to be physically present with the recipients.

The banquet’s transition to video format “definitely required a lot of adaptation and creativity,” Banquet Committee Chair Julia Moody, ’20, said. “We had already delegated speaking parts for the actual banquet, so the same people just recorded themselves at home.”

Moody was proud that “those who participated in the banquet made it just as special and sincere to those who won awards as it would have been had the banquet been in person.”

Award recipients felt similarly.  Micah Holcomb, ‘21, who won the Christopher Noland Student Activities Leadership Award for his work coordinating FUDG, said “the love for the community really shined through and was a breath of fresh air in a kinda stressful moment.”

Chase Isbell, ’21, thought “the team did a great job of handling a really tough situation.” Isbell won a Community Catalyst Award for his work with Generals Unity, and said of that work that “Being a part of that process of making campus more accepting for queer and trans students has been such a beautiful experience.”

Presenters also had a unique experience this year. Austin York ’20 presented the Most Outstanding CA and Most Outstanding Programmer awards, and was himself awarded the Larry Stuart Memorial Award. York said, “It was definitely a different experience presenting awards in my bedroom rather than in Evans Hall, but I am glad each of the two recipients who I presented awards to got the recognition they had earned.”

Moody also said that she was “very grateful to all the students and faculty who still spoke at the virtual banquet and were flexible throughout the whole process.”

One important change this year will have ramifications for the LEAD banquet going forward; the banquet’s name is being changed to the Leadership Excellence Awards.

Lexi Prochniak, ’20, said in the banquet’s closing remarks that “the new name encompasses the essence of our event, which really aims to recognize leaders on our campus and within our community.”

  • Nabors Service League McLoughlin Award for Volunteerism: Laura Calhoun, ‘20
  • Community Catalyst Award: Ginny Johnson, ‘20, and Chase Isbell, ‘21
  • Outstanding Male Peer Counselor: Troy Larsen, ‘22
  • Outstanding Female Peer Counselor: Camilla Beeley, ‘22
  • Most Outstanding RA: Franklin Rinko, ‘21
  • Most Outstanding CA: Julia Habiger, ‘21
  • Outstanding Programmer of the Year (Residential Life): Ramonah Gibson, ‘20
  • Excellence in Arts Management Award: Allison Jue, ‘20
  • Emerging Leader of the Year Award: Emma Aldrich, ‘22
  • Christopher Noland Student Activities Leadership Award: Micah Holcomb, ‘21
  • Virtual Outing Club Awards: Chantal Iosso, ‘20, and Stuart Ayer, ‘20
  • Greek Man of the Year: Pranam Patel, ‘20
  • Greek Woman of the Year: Catherine Latour, ‘20
  • Barber Scholarship Award: Danika Brockman, ’21, and Chris Watt, ‘21
  • Decade Award: Katie Evans, ‘22
  • Edward Lee Pinney Prize: Joëlle Simeu, ‘20
  • Best Student Organization (Americus White Award): Student Association for Black Unity
  • Best Event of the Year: Mock Convention 2020
  • Anece F. McCloud Excellence in Diversity Award: Ayo Ehindero, ’21, and Lee Bernstein, ‘20
  • Advisor of the Year Award: Director of Health Promotion Jan Kaufman
  • Not Unmindful of a Sustainable Future Award: Anna Soroka, ‘20, and Ginny Johnson, ‘20
  • Larry Stuart Memorial Award: Austin York, ‘20
  • Outstanding Philanthropic Effort: Chi Omega, Xi Lambda chapter
  • Mimi Apter Award: Vincent Buckman, ‘20
  • Alexander Thomas Boehling ’10 Memorial Award: Kassi Hall, ‘20, Graham Pergande, ‘20, and Layne Smith, ‘20
  • Distinguished Summer Work Award: Laura Bruce, ‘20
  • John W. Elrod Unsung General Award: Edwin Castellanos Campos, ‘20
  • Frank J. Gilliam Award: Lauryn McCray, ‘22
  • Madison Montgomery Shinaberry ’16 Outstanding Student Leadership Award: Ayo Ehindero, ’21, and Lourdes Arana, ‘21