Junior Ryan Murphy is a winner of the High School Leadership Award, which is presented by Widener University, in partnership with NBC 10. The award acknowledges and honors the region’s best and brightest future leaders who take it upon themselves to make a significant difference in their schools and communities. The program recognizes students from high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware who demonstrate courage and leadership — those who stand up for what is right, address a wrong and make a difference in their communities or schools.
“Ryan currently serves her 11th grade class as Class President, and while she didn’t realize what the year would be like when she ran for office, she has embraced her role and its additional responsibilities with grace, maturity and compassion,” explained Director of Upper School Christie Reed. “Recognizing that the social aspect of school, along with the community building was missing [this year], Ryan initiated a program, the Buddy System. This allowed the junior class to create grade-wise bonds beyond existing friend groups. She set-up small groups and provided conversation starters to use when they meet, every other week.”
As Ryan noted, “This year more than ever, connecting the grade is really important. By building our grade’s relationships through the Buddy System, we are alleviating the emotional stress of isolation that COVID-19 has caused. Connection is especially important for the many virtual learners in our grade this year, who may feel excluded from in-person school and activities. By bringing the grade together as a whole, rather than individual friend groups, we hope to build the strength and camaraderie needed to get through this pandemic side by side.”
Ryan will receive a scholarship of $20,000 over four years if she chooses to enroll at Widener as a freshman for undergraduate studies, where she would be named an Apogee Scholar. As an Apogee Scholar, students participate in a leadership development program at the Oskin Leadership Institute, which includes earning a Widener leadership certificate and participating in a variety of on-campus leadership development activities.