President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership
Each year, the LCU Fund invites partner schools to nominate a scholar in her final year of studies who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills in her home and / or school community. Prior recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership are now serving on the front lines of health care, inspiring future generations as educators, providing comfort and guidance as religious leaders, working towards community change as non-profit leaders and creating art that reflects the beauty of the world around us.
2023 Award Recipient
Tiara Celestine is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work at Lehman College where she has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills. Her struggles as a student parent raising a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder has deepened her understanding of the unique challenges children of color face, namely limited access to services. Instead of accepting these circumstances, Tiara adjusted her life plans. She dedicated herself to ensuring that her son received the support he was entitled to, all while staying enrolled in school. Other parents and administrators recognized her dedication and success, and she has become a source of inspiration and knowledge in her community. Jaye Jones, Director of Student Support Services Programs at Lehman College writes, “One of Ms. Celestine's most commendable attributes is her ability to take the initiative when faced with difficulties. Her leadership, dedication, and ability to inspire others are exceptional and reflect a strong sense of responsibility to her community.”
Tiara shares, “My life experiences have placed me in situations where I had to advocate for myself, my children, and others. Advocating became so natural to me that I sincerely enjoy helping, supporting, and standing up for what is right. As time passed, I realized what my true calling was to become a social worker. Whenever I am asked by a parent for assistance with early intervention services, I am always willing to help. My goal is to advocate for black and brown families for better early intervention services. As for now, I will continue to advocate for my son and any other child to ensure they have a chance at a fulfilled future.”