Student takes time to help kids struggling in school

Alumni Laureate Scholar Profile

Student takes time to help kids struggling in school

By Megan Schmidt

For Kelly Largent, the Alumni Laureate Scholarship program means she can spend less time worrying about finances and more time doing what she loves — working with children. Thanks to the full-tuition scholarship, the BGSU sophomore doesn't need to spend all her hours outside of class working a part-time job, allowing her time to tutor.

Last year, Largent, a middle childhood education major, was paired with a fourth-grade student at the Children's Resource Center, an off-campus organization that supports healthy development of children in the community. Its tutoring program helps many children who are having trouble in school due to behavioral issues, Largent said.

After a year of weekly tutoring sessions, Largent witnessed a tremendous change in the nine-year-old boy's attitude about school and his ability to complete his assignments, she said.

“Before I began working with him, he was having behavior issues and had actually left his elementary school,” said Largent, 19. “He has since returned to class at that same school, he has improved that much.”

In addition to her many hours spent tutoring, Largent is active in the Honors Student Association and served as a group leader for Opening Weekend, which introduces new BGSU students to academic and social environments on campus. Next year, the Strongsville native will serve as president of BGSU's Collegiate Middle Level Association, an organization for soon-to-be teachers of pre-teen and early teenage students.

Over winter break, Largent and several fellow education majors went to Thailand, where they teamed with Kamphaeng Phet Rajabhat University students to share teaching methods and to learn about one another's education systems. In addition to spending time in Kamphaeng Phet, the students visited bustling Bangkok, the Buddhist temples of mountainous Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of Sukhothai in Ayutthaya and the beaches of Prachuap.

Largent decided in high school that she wanted to be a teacher.  

“I looked into BG and a couple other schools, but within the first 30 minutes of being on the BG campus during my first visit, I knew this was the school for me,” she said. “The people were friendly and welcoming and I was incredibly excited about the education program.”

Interestingly, Largent's sister Megan also currently attends BGSU. Not only did the sisters, who comprise two parts of a set of triplets, enroll in the same school at the same time, but both are Alumni Laureate Scholars. Their sister, third triplet Caitlyn, attends Tiffin University. While the sisters have different majors and live in different residence halls, they said they see each other often.

While tutoring has been an especially rewarding part of her college experience, Largent likes to give back in other ways, too.

She spearheaded an effort to raise money for Cleveland's Joseph S. and Jeannette M. Silber Hope Lodge, which offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay overnight when they need to travel to distant cities for treatment. The American Cancer Society sponsors Hope Lodges all across the country, but Largent chose the Cleveland lodge for a special reason.

“My grandmother stayed there, and I saw it as an opportunity to help,” she said.

Once again, Largent said, she feels fortunate to have the time and energy to commit to a fundraising project like this, thanks to the Alumni Laureate Scholarship.

“I can't say enough about the ALS program,” she said. “It's been the biggest blessing of my life, to know there are people who care about me and my dreams and want to see me succeed.”