Dorchester, Mass., junior recognized for his community service efforts
EASTON, Mass. (April 3, 2017) – Stonehill College junior defensive lineman Jermel Wright (Dorchester, Massachusetts/Newton North) has been named a Newman Civic Fellowship recipient by Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 colleges and universities based out of Boston, for his community service endeavors.
Wright, who has appeared in 29 games over his Stonehill football career, has been recognized for his volunteer work in many areas, but most notably for his "Level Up" program at Bigelow Middle School in Newton, Massachusetts, where he mentors male students of color in the seventh and eighth grade in the Metropolitan Council for Education Opportunity, Inc. (METCO) program, which busses students from inner-city neighborhoods in Boston to the suburbs in order to receive a higher quality education.
"It is an honor to be named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow," said Wright. "This fellowship will provide me with the resources and connections that will hopefully allow me to continue to expand the 'Level Up' program into other schools in Massachusetts. It will give me an amazing opportunity to connect with others who are just as passionate about making a change in their respective communities. I look forward to utilizing this fellowship to expand my own knowledge and find ways to continue to make the 'Level Up' program better for the younger generation."
Wright has modeled his "Level Up" program after one similar from which he was a product as a student at Bigelow Middle School now eight years ago. He restarted the program after enrolling at Stonehill, which discusses the challenges that come from bussing from Boston to Newton, while placing an emphasis on academics and overcoming the social challenges of being students of color in a predominantly white institution. Wright meets with METCO students at Bigelow every Monday and offers life skills advice aimed at assisting the students as they prepare for high school and look forward to attending college.
"Jermel is a strong leader on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community," said Stonehill president Fr. John Denning, C.S.C., in Wright's nomination which was submitted on Fr. Denning's behalf by the College's Office of Campus Ministry. "During his time at Stonehill, along with serving locally, Jermel has created his own mentorship program, serving 7th and 8th grade male students of color. He feels strongly about giving back to his community, something he says comes very naturally to him and truly embodies Stonehill mission to "create a more just and compassionate world."
In addition to founding his "Level Up" program, Wright has volunteered with Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton, Massachusetts, as well as My Brother's Keeper. He is a healthcare administration major at Stonehill who has earned Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll status all five semesters for having a semester grade point average of 3.0 or higher, while being named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll last fall for having a semester GPA of 3.20 or above.
"Our program is very excited for Jermel to receive this award," said Stonehill football head coach Eli Gardner. "He has volunteered countless hours to help in the community during his time here at Stonehill and we are very excited that he is being recognized for his efforts. Jermel embodies the traits we strive to teach our student-athletes every day."
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, provides training and resources that nurture students' assets and passions to help them develop strategies to achieve social change. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides learning opportunities focused on the skills fellows need in order to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and building equitable communities.
Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by college and university presidents and chancellors to acknowledge motivation and potential in public leadership. Newman Civic Fellows are nominated for their demonstrated commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national exemplars of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world. The fellowship is a one-year experience for students in which fellows have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring. While the fellowship experience is limited to one year, participants in the Newman Civic Fellowship are invited to join a national network of community-committed peers and to enter into a long-term community of Newman Civic Fellows.
Campus Compact, with its national office located in Boston, is a national coalition of nearly 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact enables campuses to develop students' citizenship skills and forge effective community partnerships. Its resources support faculty and staff as they pursue community-based teaching and scholarship in the service of positive change.
Wright, an NE10 All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman, has totaled 36 tackles over his first three seasons, including eight solo, with 2.5 tackles for a loss of 13 yards and 1.5 sacks.
Stonehill finished its first season under Gardner with a 5-6 record overall, including 4-5 in the NE10 to finish in sixth place, winning its last two games of the season and five of its last eight overall. The Skyhawks capped the season with a 38-21 triumph at rival Bentley University in the No. 5 vs. 6-seed game as part of the NE10's Championship Weekend.
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