Ashley Sarmiento, of Centerville, Ohio, has been honored as the first “Student of the Block” recipient for the 2012-13 academic year at Tusculum College.
Sarmiento, who is a junior with a double major in mathematics and mathematics education 7-12, was honored for academic excellence and her leadership on campus with the “Student of the Block” award for the First Block of the year. She was honored with a brief ceremony on Oct. 10.
The Office of Student Affairs established the “Student of the Block” award to recognize students who make a significant contribution to the college community. A plaque recognizing Sarmiento’s accomplishments will be displayed in the Niswonger Commons and other campus buildings. Recipients are nominated by faculty and staff members. Sarmiento was nominated by Head Volleyball Coach Michael Robinson.
Sarmiento has excelled in the classroom and on the court as a member of the Tusculum volleyball team. She maintains a 3.96 grade point average and has earned places on the college’s academic honor rolls and that of the South Atlantic Conference, of which Tusculum is a member.
Always giving 100 percent in the classroom and on the volleyball court is important to Sarmiento. “It is so important to me that I am a student-athlete,” she said. “I think the most important qualities in an individual are always giving 100 percent and passion. Strive for perfection even though you know it is unattainable. Always do everything to the best of your ability and you can always be proud. Whatever you do, do it with passion. It is obvious when you love what you are doing.”
That passion and commitment to excellence is obvious to those who know Sarmiento. She is the volleyball program’s first Academic All-American honoree. She was selected as the most valuable player on the volleyball team in 2010 and garnered conference honors as a freshmen.
Her coaches, fellow teammates, other coaches and teams and the Athletic Department’s staff are all supportive, she said. “The Pioneer Nation community is so amazing.”
Active in high school, Sarmiento has continued that commitment to service and engagement at Tusculum. She serves as a peer tutor, president of Pioneer Student Athletic Advisory Council and an organizer of the Tusculum College Make-A-Wish Annual 5K race. She is also a participant in Relay for Life, Ride for Life and a college mentoring program. She is one of the founders of the Pioneer Nation Athletic Spirit Club. “I think that school spirit and pride are so important,” she said. “I would love to leave Pioneer Nation as a legacy at Tusculum College.”
When she returns home to Ohio, she finds time to volunteer at such places as St. Vincent Homeless Shelter and her church.
“The many activities and programs have shown me how blessed I am in life,” she said. “They have influenced me by giving me the desire to help others and give back – pay it forward.”
Sarmiento is the daughter of George and Teresa Sarmiento and graduated from Centerville High School. Among her biggest influences are her mother, who nurtured her love of math and helping others, and her high school coach. “I would love to help one young athlete in the way he has influenced my life and love of the game,” she said of her coach.
Through the Tusculum volleyball program, she met another couple who have influenced her life, Tusculum alumni Ralph and Billye Horne. Mrs. Horne, who passed away earlier this year, was one of her biggest volleyball fans.
Dr. Polly Johnson, assistant professor of education and director of student teaching; Kellie Ross, campus counselor, and Dr. John Paulling, professor of mathematics, have also positively influenced Sarmiento thus far on her college journey.