Act Six nurtures student leaders

by Remi Omodara

Act Six is a leadership and scholarship initiative with an emphasis on diversity that equips students to get an education then return to their communities to be leaders.

Whitworth is among six Washington higher-education schools that have Act Six programs.

The Act Six scholarship is a process that begins during senior year for all prospective students.

Whitworth faculty, staff and students partake in the Act Six selection process., which starts in October and does not end until school begins the next year.

“The Act Six scholarship process is rigorous and extensive,” said Esther Louie, Assistant Dean of Intercultural Student Affairs. Students first have to meet Whitworth requirements, and write additional essays, complete individual interviews, timed writing exercise, problem solving exercises, and participate in a faculty discussion.

Act Six is committed to seven main themes: leadership, diversity, community, service, vision, transformation and preparation.

Act Six candidates are put into group settings to test people skills, given essay prompts to write about, and complete an application that includes references from other people, Esther Louie said.

Act Six students are then put into cadres and trained to support each other and succeed academically.

“It’s created a caring community for me here at Whitworth,” said Gifti Abbo, freshman Act Six scholarship recipient.

The goals of Act Six are to develop students to make a difference in society.

“Act Six is like a movement,” Abbo said. “It takes kids from urban communities and gives them the tools to transform their community in the future.”

According to Act Six scholars, living as a scholar is not easy. Students are expected to be leaders on campus and lead by example.

“Living on campus as an Act Six scholar is challenging at times because I am always striving to reach success, but sometimes there is pressure because I know people are looking at my actions,” said Mailia Yang, freshman Act Six scholarship recipient.

The program provides students with non-monetary benefits.

“We are supported by Act Six but we are also expected to be the bigger person on campus so when they give a lot, much is expected,” Yang said.

Act Six teaches students lessons beyond what they can learn in the classroom.

“I cannot name all the things I have learned from Act Six,” Yang said. “It has given me a new way to look at things and shaped my worldview and identity.”

Students aren’t the only people affected by the Act Six program.

“Act Six students have made an impact at Whitworth and truly taken the mission statement to heart,” Louie said. “It’s a privilege and an honor for me to work with the program.”

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