Liam Long 1

Scholarship Finalist: Liam Long

Liam Long
Liam Long attended Restoration Academy in Fairfield, Ala. and is attending Lawson State Community College.

For two years, I had the opportunity to work as a construction apprentice for Build-Up Ensley. This project was designed to give teenagers an opportunity to earn their high school diploma and their college certificate in construction, simultaneously. Although, my mom had gotten my siblings and me into a private, Christian school and was content on us remaining there, I looked at this opportunity as a means to at least keep me busy and physically fit during the summer. I didn’t know just how beneficial this experience would end up being for me. We flipped dilapidated homes in the area. I was proud because although Ensley is known for being crime-ridden and poverty-stricken, it has been my home since first grade. It was great learning from men skilled in the trade who really wanted to see us succeed as young, black men. Older pillars of the community would drive or walk up to the homes we were working on, in awe of the transformation that was taking place. I felt such a sense of servitude! As one could imagine, there were youth with diverse backgrounds in the program. Some were easier to manage than others. A construction supervisor felt that my positive attitude and ability to effectively communicate with adult administrators and student peers alike was an asset. Because of this, I was encouraged to take on the responsibility of being a positive leader to and for my peers. Initially, I wasn’t too eager to take on this task because this was my first time in a leadership position. I wondered if I was capable of living up to the expectations. Apparently, he’d seen something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself. I accepted the challenge and it was around this time when I started to notice me. After growing up in church and hearing my pastor talk about how uniquely God made us all, I started to get a better understanding of just what that meant. Yes, it’s easy to understand uniqueness in terms of how we look, but I was given a glimpse into what God had placed INSIDE of me. This emboldened me to seek and be more willing to take on future leadership roles. I realized that the biggest part of leadership was to actively listen, treat others with the same respect which I wanted to be treated with, and to teach by example.

 

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