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Hagerstown resident leads her college group to award

November 30, 2009

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - The St. Mary's College of Maryland Omicron Delta Kappa Circle was named a Superior Circle for the 2008-09 academic year.

Kelli Hill of Hagerstown is president of the SMCM chapter of ODK and helped lead the club of more than 60 students to its distinguished award.

The group has received the award annually since 2003 because of its sponsorship of two campus-wide programs that demonstrate service on campus, leadership development, faculty/student dialogue and service to the community. Out of 315 ODK Circles across the country, only four other Circles received the Superior Circle award for the 2008-09 academic year.

"Being president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Circle at St. Mary's College is a tremendous honor," Hill said. "Students at St. Mary's pride themselves on being involved in their campus and, as such, are leaders of various campus organizations and clubs.

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"Many of the students are other club presidents and have ideas about the ways ODK can get more involved in campus life and know who to contact. I have found this collaboration to be very helpful when planning projects."

This year, St. Mary's College ODK members sponsored a mentoring program at Chesapeake Charter School, in which members participated in trust walks and discussions with Chesapeake Charter School students. Participants talked about Leah's House, a local shelter for battered women and their children, and discussed the purpose and importance of the shelter, and the ways in which the students could help the victims.

Students at the Chesapeake Charter School designed a banner for the shelter and decorated cookies for the women and children.

SMCM members of ODK also sponsored a Girl Scout river education program, teaching a local Girl Scout troop about the St. Mary's River.

Girl Scouts visited the SMCM campus and ODK members took them on marsh walks, taught them about the food chain with games, and helped the girls identify fish that were seined from the St. Mary's River.

"The SMCM ODK Circle is made up of a diverse group of students who are phenomenal leaders," Hill said.

"I am not surprised by our success, due to the dedication and commitment of all the leaders. I hope that we can continue to have success in the upcoming year."

ODK is a national leadership honor society that recognizes and promotes academic excellence, leadership abilities and exemplary character.

Student members must rank in the upper 35 percent of their school and must show leadership in at least one of five areas: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social or religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts.

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