Service is a hallmark of Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) and a critical component of the student experience. SMH mentors help to provide students with enrichment opportunities to guide them in their journey as civic-minded leaders and inspire them to make a positive impact on the issues important to them. Recently, an SMH mentor, Enrichment Program Coordinator Lisa Westergard, was globally recognized for her contributions to SMH students.
In November, Westergard was officially selected as one of the 100 Award Leaders, honored by the International Award Foundation, for inspiring participants to reach their infinite potential. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA nominated Westergard for the global celebration of 100 inspirational leaders throughout the world. She serves as SMH’s Duke of Edinburgh International Award Leader, coordinating the program for student participation.
“Leading and cultivating a program as distinguished as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a mighty and lofty task. Mrs. Westergard exemplifies the patience, compassion, vulnerability, and integrity required to support students as they encounter the world beyond Saint Mary’s Hall and discover their passions,” said Head of Upper School Liz Stockdale.
Though there are many exceptional Award Leaders in the United States, the program’s team chose Westergard as their sole nomination for the United States, officially selecting her as an Award Leader on December 5 (International Volunteer Day). Westergard will receive a commemorative coin, celebrating the life and legacy of The Duke of Edinburgh from The Royal Mint, and a recognition certificate from HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
“I am honored to receive this award and proud to represent Saint Mary’s Hall and its participants,” said Westergard. “This incredible opportunity has brought tremendous growth to our students.”
Of the nominations from 130 countries, the International Award Foundation selected only 100 leaders. The award recognizes Westergard’s dedication to students on their Award journeys and for going above and beyond during COVID-19 to ensure they continued to make progress in the program.
“Lisa is a dedicated mentor to these young scholars. Her leadership has inspired our students to test themselves and look for even more ways to positively impact our community,” shared Head of School Len Miller.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award celebrates young people's achievements outside of academia by recognizing adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises. More than 130 countries and territories offer the program as part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. In 2020, approximately 330,000 youth continued with their program activities, dedicating 1.8 million hours of volunteerism to local communities at a crucial time in history.
Since the program was introduced at SMH in 2018, a total of 42 students have participated with 14 completed levels (bronze, silver, and gold). Currently, there are 25 active participants. Under the direction of Westergard, the program will continue to encourage and support students in positive ways to follow their passions and help build a life-long belief in themselves.
“The program's core values align with our priority of developing healthy, community-conscious young adults,” said Westergard. “I look forward to future participants as they take this life-changing journey of enrichment and service.”