Alumni Spotlight: Garrett S.

Ambassador Leader recognized by local Board of Education

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A note from Ambassador Leaders: Garrett is one of our stand-out alumni students! He attended the Leadership Summit at Harvard University in 2017 and has received multiple honors and awards for his commitment to leadership in his hometown of Batavia, NY. This is his story:

Before attending the Summit at Harvard University in 2017 I spent hours fundraising. I was surprised by the generosity of teachers, friends, family, and those in my community after the local newspaper wrote an article about me. Every donation received a thank you note. I wrote letters and went door to door selling pies. There were days I sold pies but I also had to learn how to deal with rejection. This improved my communication skills as I had to inform neighbors why I was raising money. We decided to do a pie sale for the 4th of July and it was a challenge to deliver them frozen in July!  

As a leader, it is easy sometimes to take charge or for others to assume you will lead, but at the Summit every student is a leader. You become more aware of the abilities of others, recognizing their strengths and acknowledging their ability to contribute to the group. It was amazing how we all worked together on our service project after only meeting each other for the first time. I still keep in contact with some of my group and I am thankful for the opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world.



"Ambassador Leaders challenged me to be a leader among leaders."

- Garrett Schmidt

The Summit taught me how to be self-sufficient and responsible (Keep ahold of that key at all times!). We had fun working together on the obstacle courses while developing leadership skills. We grew as a team after debating which project to do and in the end combined both ideas to come up with a solution. It was great to be a part of a team where everyone wanted to do their best.  

Being a leader is not always easy. I have applied some areas of leadership to group projects this year in school. Leaders have to show fairness to all members of the group even if you relate more to one person. Leaders give ideas, accept the ideas of others, and are confident even when their ideas are not being used. Good leaders can determine not to use the ideas of others and at the same time be sure those members do not feel bad.  

Since my experience at the Harvard Summit I have volunteered hours for a renovation project, volunteered weekly for the lighting and production department at my church, and volunteered in the counseling center at school. I am determined to be a leader and a team player on the football field, on the basketball court, and on the baseball field.  I was recognized by my football coach for academic achievement and outstanding leadership skills. I was awarded as a VIP student. I have high honor status and will be inducted into the Middle School Honor Society in June.

To me being a leader is also about balance. It is not just about being a top student or volunteering hours, it is about being a leader in all circumstances. It is about integrity and a way of life. 

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By Garrett Schmidt

Garrett is an alum of the 2017 Ambassador Leadership Summit at Harvard University.