February is Black History Month and presents a good opportunity to learn more about our denomination's historically black colleges and the ways our Conference UMW has helped to tell that story.
The historically Black colleges and universities of The United Methodist Church are responsible for educating some active and popular leaders - from preachers, district superintendents and bishops to college professors and presidents to general agency staff, legislators and community leaders. These schools and their graduates have a rich legacy of service and are a source of great pride in their communities.
The Apportioned Fund Giving of United Methodist Churches in our conference helps support 11 universities through the United Methodist Black College Fund. At our Annual Conference every year we hear very briefly from one of the students who has benefitted from this fund. United Methodist Women host that student, providing transportation to and from the airport, and companionship as he or she experiences the hospitality of Western Pennsylvania church members at this gathering.
In both 2015 and 2016 Western Pennsylvania United Methodists at Annual Conference were privileged to hear from Kadrien Wilson. After getting to know Kadrien, Diane Miller felt like more church members needed to know what we support and meet this extraordinary young woman. The only way she could make this happen was to ask Kadrien to write about herself and then share what she wrote through the UMW webpage and WPA E-news.
Meet Kadrien Wilson!
I am Kadrien Wilson and I am a 2016 graduate of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and was honored to be the Valedictorian of my graduating class. I entered into Bennett College as a sophomore after graduating from The Middle College at Bennett (a high school in which students take college courses that fulfill both high school and college requirements) with 30 credit hours of college courses. I chose to attend a Bennett College so that I could continue to solely focus on my studies and most importantly to be in an atmosphere that is faith based and a place where the goal is to empower and transform young ladies, into strong intelligent women ready to be viable and productive citizens in their communities. At Bennett confident young women support one another and genuinely want to see each other succeed. We also celebrate our accomplishments in programs such as Honors Convocation and cultivate sisterhood through our traditional Big Sister/Little Sister ceremony, where underclassmen get upper classmen as their big sisters. This atmosphere has truly given me so much encouragement and has allowed me to blossom and be at peace with who I am and not be ashamed to express my faith while getting an education. Throughout my years at Bennett I have served as Student Government Association Vice President, member of the Student North Carolina Association of Educators, Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society, Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society, Pre-Alumnae Council, Global Scholars, Resident Assistant, and more.
I’m excited to begin my first year of teaching in August where I will teach 3rd grade. From the moment I used an expo marker on the dry erase board in kindergarten, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher because I would be able to use it every day! From there I began teaching my stuffed animal’s faithfully every day after school. As I continued to get older and began to shadow and volunteer in my aunt’s Kindergarten class, I knew that becoming a teacher was at the center of my heart. So many children come from unfortunate circumstances that are beyond their control and it is my desire to truly make an impact on their lives and provide them with the best education I possibly can.
In early November of 2013 my college chaplain recommended that I apply to be an Ambassador for the Black College Fund which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Not knowing what it was initially, I did research and saw that if selected I would have the opportunity to have a summer internship along with a scholarship.
After learning more about the Black College Fund and its relation to the United Methodist Church and my school, I knew instantly that this was more than a scholarship. This was about personally saying thank you to the United Methodist Church for their contributions to the well-being of my school.
Once selected as a potential intern, I was able to attend the Intern/Ambassador Orientation in Nashville TN. There I had the chance to hear many inspirational and motivational guest speakers while being equipped with tools to be the best public speaker and ambassador that I could be. The last phase in the selection process I was given the chance to travel to an Ethical Leadership Conference at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas where I learned about Servant Leadership. Upon my return from Texas I was notified that I was selected to be an intern. Two years later I am now an Ambassador and I have traveled to and spoken at conferences in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Hiroshima, Japan!
he Black College Fund has truly been a blessing to my life and having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people has been a great experience.