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Student nationally recognized for their servant leadership

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 30, 2020

The stories of those who serve often go unsung. Local news rarely leads with a person’s positive impact on the world around them. That is exactly why the Peter R. Marsh Foundation created the Silent Servant award to recognize “private citizens who selflessly and quietly serve others are indeed the most valuable citizens of their communities.” Among this year’s roughly two dozen student award recipients is first-year College of Lake County (CLC) student Asharia Harris. 

Photo of Asharia Harris“Asharia was a natural fit for the scholarship because of the years of volunteerism she completed and with the joy in which she contributed,” said Dr. Sharon Sanders-Funnye, director of student recruitment and onboarding , as well as, CLC’s TRiO Educational Talent Search program. “It wasn't a task for her and she was always willing to serve others.” 

Befitting to the award itself, the students do not apply to be considered, but rather are nominated by a mentor or teacher. Sanders-Funnye served Harris in that role for the last five years. During that time, she has seen the new college student volunteer with Aid to Haiti, Africare, Shiloh’s PADS Shelter, Northern Illinois Food Bank, National Association for Mental Illness and the Lambda Nu Omega chapter of AKA Sorority, Inc. to name just a few of her service commitments. 

“I have watched her grow and develop from an 8th grade student, through graduation at Warren Township High School, and now into a CLC student,” said Sanders-Funnye. “Asharia is consistent, a hard worker and she cares about people. I expect she will continue serving her community and the community-at-large for years to come.” 

“It was an honor to receive this scholarship,” said Harris. “It just shows community service and volunteerism is such an important thing to participate in.” 

While Harris is currently studying psychology at CLC, her original post-high school plan didn’t involve attending the college. Before COVID-19 disrupted our society, she was headed to DePaul University. Like many of her peers however, the pandemic forced her to reconsider. 

“Because of COVID, I thought it would be a better decision for me to stay a little closer to home. It would be better financially for me also,” said Harris. “Just knowing the college community is very welcoming and helpful played a lot into my decision to come to CLC for this year.” 

She is still planning to transfer to DePaul to complete a four-year degree. What’s more, Harris will be a full year ahead of her counterparts who chose to take a gap year. Not to mention how much money she has saved by starting at CLC, and how much more mentally prepared she will be when she transfers. 

“You know how we have summer vacations and everything you learned just goes completely out of your head? I felt like I wanted to continue to learn and at least keep my brain engaged,” said Harris.  

About College of Lake County: 

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.