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Lynch goes 'the extra mile' as student leader at Blue Ridge CTC

October 06, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Brittany Lynch was all too familiar with having few social outlets at school by the time she arrived at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College two years ago.

Her graduating class at Rosedale Christian Academy in Winchester, Va., could be counted on one hand - two boys and two girls, including herself.

"There was nothing to do in high school except sports and study. That's it," the 21-year-old liberal arts major recalled last week.

Yet, when she enrolled at Blue Ridge in 2006, Lynch discovered the circumstances at the school's relatively new campus in Martinsburg weren't much different.

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Other than the existence of the school's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, Lynch said she discovered the Student Government Association consisted of one person - Aaron Smith. She wasn't aware of any other organizations on campus.

"(SGA) really hadn't started, (there was) no money in the budget," said Lynch, who decided to team up with Smith (who has since left school) to fully establish the organization.

The SGA now has more than 30 active members that helped start and now oversees 14 clubs and organizations, according to CTC Student Affairs counselor James McDougle.

"She is always willing to go the extra mile for us," McDougle said of Lynch's leadership on campus.

After serving as treasurer last year, Lynch was nominated to serve as the organization's vice president for 2008-09, and serves as the student representative on the college's Board of Governors.

"I like to know what's going on with the school," Lynch said. "But you're kind of like in the CIA because you can't talk about it to anybody ... sometimes you wanna jump out the window, but other times it's exciting," she said of the college governing board's executive sessions.

Lynch said every school should have an SGA, which she said serves as a voice for the students.

"You need that ... person you can go to between faculty and students," she said.

"It's more comfortable for students to talk to us than to go right up to ... an important faculty member and be like 'I kind of have a suggestion or a problem.'"

Lynch's problem at the moment is deciding at what four-year school she will enroll.

"I want my degree to be in physical therapy. But no one offers a bachelor's in physical therapy - that I can find - here in West Virginia," said Lynch, who lives in the Hedgesville, W.Va., area.

And she also wants to improve her 3.8 grade-point average.

"I blame it all (on) math," Lynch said, smiling.

McDougle said the combination of Lynch's academic achievement and campus involvement prompted him to nominate her for a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Among the 149 Phi Theta Kappa members to receive the $1,000 award from the foundation, Lynch was the one from West Virginia, according to the honor society's Web site.

"Brittany is the prime example of what we like to see in our students," McDougle said.

As the only person in her immediate family to go to college, Lynch said she is very self-motivated and simply enjoys being involved, whether it be in the September blood drive on campus or the first-ever Fall Frenzy. The latter was a mid-term stress relief-themed event staged to raise money for SGA, which now has about $2,000 in the bank.

"We also are just trying to get the students involved with the school ... and let them you know that you can come there and have fun, and not just have to buckle down and be stressed all the time," Lynch said.

Photo by Matthew Umstead

Student Government Association Vice President Brittany Lynch, 21, of Hedgesville, W.Va., listens to Blue Ridge Community and Technical College President Peter G. Checkovich give his report to the school's Board of Governors last week.

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