Distinguished Leader Scholar (Maryville University) – Melanie Wilmert

Melanie Wilmert is entering her 3rd year at Maryville University with a plan to graduate in May 2020. She is a dual major in Math and Secondary Education and a strong student that has been on the Dean’s List every semester she’s attended Maryville. Melanie plans to graduate in 2021 with her Master’s in Education with goals to become a high school math teacher. Melanie remarked, she “would like to make my way up to administration someday.”

Melanie is currently the President of the Maryville DeMolay Leadership & Service club and has been a Club member since its inception Fall 2016. Melanie has done many community service events with clubs at Maryville and participates in Maryville Reaches Out program every year.

When asked what Leadership means to her, she notes, “To me leadership means being able to collaborate and work with a diverse group of people who have different perspectives and ideas on how to approach different situations and complete tasks. I think being a good leader requires you to set goals and expectations, treat people with respect, encourage others and help them achieve their goals, listen, and create an environment where people feel they can express their ideas without retaliation.”

Meritorious Service Scholar (Maryville University) – Rapulu Okolo

Rapulu Okolo is a 5th-year student at Maryville University studying Business Administration. Rapulu’s has been named to the Dean’s List for consecutive semesters since enrolling at Maryville and is a member of Delta Mu Delta International Business Honor Society.

Rapulu is avidly passionate about sports, technology, and entrepreneurship. She recently interned at Google in California, working on Global Diversity and Inclusion strategy. A life-long advocate for community building; she actively strives to volunteer and support underrepresented groups while collaborating with like-minded leaders to implement change.

Ms. Okolo thanks The LIGHT Foundation for investing in her future and the confidence in her ability to continue amplifying the voices and uplifting the efforts of those around her.

Centennial (DeMolay) Service & Leadership Scholar (IHO Stacy Cockerham) – Parker Hastings

Parker Hastings is in his sophomore year at Belmont University majoring in Music Business. He plans on graduating Belmont University in 2022 with an MBA in Music Business. He would love to pursue a career in the music industry as an entertainer/performer, but is also continuing to learn about the changes within the industry and the numerous job opportunities it presents.  

Parker noted, “This year I am excited to be more involved on campus. I was hired in the spring as a resident assistant in one of the upperclassman apartments, and am really enjoying being an RA! I am also an active member in the CMA Edu group on campus, and I also plan to get involved with one of the ministries on campus.”

Parker shared that this past summer, he had numerous opportunities nearly every weekend to travel around various states and cities across the country and share his gift of music with others. Parker is excited to start planning where he will travel and perform next summer.

When asked to reflect on what Leadership means to him, Parker notes, “Leadership to me means guiding others along a path that goes in a positive direction. Being a helpful resource and role model to others is all part of leadership. A good leader is someone who is constantly looking out for others before themselves and is always a step ahead.”

(DeMolay) Service & Leadership Scholar – Richard Ables

Richard James Ables is a Sophomore at Missouri University of Science and Technology and pursuing an education in Engineering. Upon graduation, Rich aspires to work in the field of engineering in his hometown of St. Louis.

Outside of school Richard serves DeMolay, an organization committed to developing and training young men to lead lives dedicated to God, their parents, and their country. He serves in multiple capacities as the State Master Councilor of Missouri DeMolay, Region VI Master Councilor and Membership Committee Chairman of the 53rd International DeMolay Congress. He is a member of Crestwood-Anchor Lodge #443 and the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis. Rich is also a member of Dardenne Prairie Presbyterian Church.

When asked what leadership means to him, Richard states the definition of leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” and believes that leadership is much more than the general action of leading, but the personal guidance, connection and counsel that is the development of an organization’s direction to better a community through its most important asset, its members.