Role Model


A student who aims to be an example to his family and a role model to the youth who live in his neighborhood was awarded this year's Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship. Marvin Thompson '10 of Springfield, MA, says being on campus means more to him than getting an education.

"MCLA is not just an education," he says. "The College has provided me with opportunities to do things that go beyond the classroom. I have learned to build relationships with people. I have been able to learn how to become a better person."

Margaret A. Hart '35 was first student of color to graduate from State Teachers College in North Adams - now MCLA. Her distinguished career in teaching and community service spanned more than five decades. Thompson says receiving this scholarship is particularly meaningful to him because of the community service that Hart demonstrated.

"I try to be an example in the community, whether I'm doing community service or just trying to display model behavior," says Thompson, who majors in sports management with a minor in economics.

"I try to strive for academic excellence because I'm the first one in my family to go to college," he continues. "I want to set the bar high for other family members. Margaret Hart was a great woman in the MCLA community. I'm honored to have a scholarship in her name."

Thompson twice has traveled to Boston to speak with Massachusetts state representatives and senators on behalf of MCLA during the Commonwealth's annual State House Day.

"I was able to express concerns that the school had about funding, among other topics of conversation," he says. "State House Day is something that I want other students to experience for themselves."

Last spring, Thompson traveled a bit farther when, with Professor Ben Kahn and a group of other MCLA students, he went to China. The trip taught him about business in China, as well as the country's culture and people.

Thompson says it was "probably the best experience that I have ever had in my life."

He is active in several MCLA organizations and serves as captain of the men's basketball team. He is also involved with the Student Government Association and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which allows him to speak on behalf of the athletes on campus.

When he goes home to visit his family, Thompson often can be found playing basketball with the children who live in his neighborhood.

"When I play with the younger kids they ask me questions about college," he says. "I tell them it is important to go to college because there is more to life. College will provide them with opportunities to do more than they can imagine. Education is all I have at this point. By that I mean that my education cannot be taken from me by anyone, no matter what happens."

After he graduates, Thompson wants to work with young people. "I want to help out with kids no matter if I get paid to do it or not," he says. "I want to have a job that I love to go to every day. Helping out kids is important because they're the future."