Twenty Elks scholars converged on Chicago from across the United States on Friday, April 22, for the 2016 Most Valuable Student Leadership Weekend.
Upon their arrival, the scholars immediately bonded as Elks family. As the scholars arrived, a game of Apples to Apples began and the table quickly filled up with chairs. But as each new person arrived, they were greeted with enthusiastic welcoming remarks and a suggestion to “pull up a chair!” Instead of separating into multiple games or pulling over another table, all 20 scholars pulled up their chairs and began to make connections shoulder to shoulder in the matter of just a few hours.
The scholars then headed to the Elks Veterans Memorial where they participated in a scavenger hunt to learn more about the Elks, a core values exercise to prepare for their interviews with the national judges, and a leadership activity that opened up dialogue about what leadership will mean to them as they step onto their campus as leaders and Elks scholars for the fall 2016 semester.
While the scholars enjoyed some delicious Chicago staples for dinner, deep dish pizza and Italian Beef sandwiches, they learned about all the opportunities available to them now that they are a part of the Elks family.
Saturday morning brought interviews with the national judges for the top awards of $30,000, $40,000 and $50,000. When the scholars were not interviewing, they participated in a “Serving Those Who Served” presentation where staff from the Elks National Veterans Service Commission shared with the scholars about the Elks’ commitment to serving our nation’s veterans. The scholars then put together comfort kits for veterans at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center, complete with a personalized, hand written note.
At lunch, the scholars brought two tables together and continued their mantra of “pull up a chair!” to enjoy lunch #ElksFamily style before serving at the Jesse Brown V.A. At the V.A., the scholars participated in trivia alongside veterans and distributed comfort kits to veterans residing in and receiving medical treatment in the Community Living Center.
The weekend ended with the scholars dancing the night away and enjoying views of the Chicago skyline on a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. With further ado, we are excited to announce the top six winners of the 2016 Most Valuable Student Contest. Congratulations to the top female winner, Nadya Okamoto, and the top male winner, Jay Little, who will be receiving awards of $50,000. The second-place awards of $40,000 will support Jessica Nguyen and Sunny Sandhu over the next four years of their college education. Alexa Anderson and Kade McCorvy will receive the third-place awards of $30,000 to support their college dreams. The remaining 14 scholars who attended the Leadership Weekend each will receive $20,000 scholarships.
For more information about the MVS Leadership Weekend, click here. For the complete list of Most Valuable Student scholarship winners, click here.
Click here to watch a video recap of the weekend.
Click here to see hundreds of professional photos from the weekend! Thanks to Kristy Timms Photography for capturing the weekend.
Click here to listen to episode 24 of Midday with the ENF - a podcast with exclusive behind-the-scenes information about everything happening at the Elks National Foundation. This episode features a recap of the 2016 Hoop Shoot Finals and the 2016 Leadership Weekend.