Taking flight: Church camp counselor earns McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship
Growing up, Meado Randolph spent most of her summers at East Bay Camp in Hudson. She was already familiar with volunteering in the community, but it was at camp that she discovered how service and leadership coalesced.
“During my fourth summer of attending camp, I met a special counselor,” said Randolph, whose first name is pronounced like “meadow.” “I knew he was the exact kind of person I wanted to be as a leader and future teacher. My next summer at camp, I started volunteering as a counselor-in-training.”
Her dedication to service and leadership has earned Randolph a McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship. She is one of seven incoming McLean County freshmen to receive the scholarship, which provides four years of free tuition in recognition of their leadership, community service, and commitment to our community.
Randolph’s first experience as a counselor didn’t go well. Once she began her training, she was designated as the children’s caregiver for the entire week. “I went into the week expecting to be able to handle it with ease,” said Randolph. “I was so very wrong.”
She was able to deal with most of her campers, but one child in particular was nearly uncontrollable and frequently caused problems with other campers. “I did not know how to handle the camper, and I broke down into tears myself,” said Randolph. After noticing her frustration, the same counselor who inspired Randolph consoled her and motivated her to persevere.
“One week changed my life forever,” said Randolph. “I realized that I wanted to work with youth and change lives.”
Randolph made good on her commitment to change lives through frequent volunteering—both locally and globally. She tutored and served as a youth leader at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. And earlier this year, Randolph and 11 other University High School students embarked to Haiti to build a home for a family in need.
The students were involved with U-Build, a student organization at University High School that works on homes for those in need. Randolph was the group’s fundraising coordinator. The students collaborated with Welcome Home Haiti, an organization that employs Haitians to help build homes. “The frame was already built for the house, but we put on the roof, furnished the house, painted it, and handed over the house to the family,” said Randolph.
Her experiences in Haiti made an impact on Randolph. “It really changed my entire outlook on life. Seeing how they live makes you not take things for granted as much when you’re back home.”
With her fresh perspective, Randolph is more motivated than ever to continue her service. She is ready to translate her love for service into teaching, as she will major in mathematics teacher education in the fall.
“I’ve known since about middle school that I wanted to teach,” said Randolph. “Doing all of the volunteer work and working with kids made me want to be a teacher.”
Randolph looks forward to getting involved in campus organizations such as Redbird Red Cross, the student chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and Merge. Her main goals are to maintain a high grade point average and to make memories with new friends.
The only college that Randolph applied to was Illinois State —a factor that added to her disbelief when she learned that she received the scholarship.
“It didn’t feel real,” said Randolph. “Somehow, the email that I got that scholarship went to my spam and I was like, ‘This isn’t real.’ I went and showed my mom and she was like, ‘No way!’”
Randolph is thankful for the opportunity to continue her learning and service for the next four years at Illinois State.
“I am very excited to join ISU and get involved in everything the school has to offer to make me a better person and teacher,” said Randolph.