There’s no denying that Southern Virginia tries to instill in its students an appreciation for what it really means to be a leader-servant, but that mission’s success isn’t really tested until students and alumni take it upon themselves to embody the leader-servant attitude beyond campus.
Senior Elizabeth Bonney, a liberal arts and English major and recipient of the Jackson Casey scholarship for the last two years, has attempted to do just that. She represented the recipients of the Jackson Casey scholarship at ThanksUSA’s 4th annual Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament last month, chosen because of her willingness to be a dedicated student as well as an ambitious leader-servant.
The Jackson Casey Fund was established in memory of Jackson Casey, an eleven-year-old boy whose death — and life — inspired his family to grant scholarships in his name to family members of those in the military.
“Our mission is to keep the memory and spirit of Jackson Casey alive throughout the community by providing college scholarships for the children of our nation’s soldiers,” the ThanksUSA website says.
Bonney, whose father is a recently retired Army officer, was surprised and excited by the honor of representing recipients of the scholarship.
“I felt awesome. I was so excited,” she said.
Bonney recently spent a semester in China as part of the International Language Programs teaching English to elementary-aged children. Previous to attending Southern Virginia, she and her 13 siblings moved numerous times — “16, I think” — around the world, from Missouri to Senegal. After one move, she spent more than six months in Tanzania. While there and attending an international school, she served in a local orphanage, teaching young Tanzanian children how to speak English and how to swim, as well as at a school for mentally handicapped children of similar ages.
“I helped them paint, and we did clay and drawing,” she said. “It was really fun. … We helped them swim, and we also played games with them.”
Bonney said that her desire to be involved has extended to her experience at Southern Virginia as well, which she discovered when she joined the women’s lacrosse team her first semester.
“Once you’re at this school, you have so many opportunities to do things,” she said. “This school really does have a lot going on, and once you get out of your comfort zone … you’ll get so much more involved, and your experience will be so much better.”
After graduating from Southern Virginia next spring, Bonney hopes to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before pursuing her career.
“I really want to be an international school teacher,” she said. “[And] at the beginning, I want to work with the Peace Corps.”
In the meantime, she’ll continue to serve, this time as a senior senator for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament took place on July 13 in Alexandria, Va. to fundraise for future scholarships.
(Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Bonney ’16.)