Abby Wolfenbarger of New Market was recognized for academic excellence and leadership on campus with her selection for the “Student of the Block” award for the eighth block at Tusculum College.
Wolfenbarger, who graduated with honors on May 5 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in literature, was praised by her four nominating professors for not only her commitment to excellence, quiet leadership and her service to others, but also her strength of character.
“Abby is a rock in the English Department,” said Dr. Clay Matthews, assistant professor of English. “In class, she’s patient, sharp, diligent and direct. … Abby carries patience and hard work over to all facets of her work here at Tusculum.”
Desirae Matherly, assistant professor English, described Abby as “a mature thinker, researcher and writer as well as a dependable, motivated, prepared, creative, humble … well rounded, hard working and stellar student.”
“Her classmates and professors all recognize her as someone who can be relied upon to carry out any activity she is involved in with excellence,” said Dr. Shelia Morton, assistant professor of English. “When I need help with projects, Abby is the first person I call. In fact, if I need to contact multiple students and organize responsibilities among them, I often assign that task to Abby because I know it will get done.”
“I believe that the Student of the Block award represents not only our school’s academic excellence but also our spirit,” Dr. Morton continued. “I know if I were in charge of selecting our worthiest students, I would want to know the quality of their hearts, and Abby’s is as good as they come. I admit with full bias that she is one of my favorite students and this is because she is always thoughtful of others, kind, cheerful and joyful.”
Jan Matthews, assistant professor of English, noted that “Abby has been a tutor for my classes for several blocks. She has helped several of my students improve their writing through editing and by having the patience to sit with them and discuss the direction of their ideas. It takes care and discipline to be a good tutor; Abby is great at working with her peers.”
Joining the Tusculum community in 2008, Wolfenbarger fell in love with the beautiful campus and the small, personal class sizes. “The small classroom atmosphere is a great environment to promote studying,” she said.
This environment has allowed Wolfenbarger to be involved as a student editor for three years of the college’s literary journal, The Tusculum Review; a peer tutor for the English department, treasurer for the English Student Organization and a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society for English majors, the Pioneer Anime Club and the Pioneer Green Team.
In addition to these activities, she has also volunteered with Mustang Alley Horse Rescue, Inc., the New Hope Cemetery project and the Old Oak Festival. Wolfenbarger has been named to the college’s Dean’s List, President’s List and Charles Oliver Gray Scholars list throughout her time at Tusculum.
Her favorite courses were her English courses with Heather Patterson, assistant professor of English; Nancy Thomas, associate professor of English; Wayne Thomas, associate professor of English; Matherly; Dr. Matthews; Matthews and Dr. Morton. “All of these classes have great memories associated with them, challenging course work and professors who I knew cared about me as a person and a student,” she said.
Wolfenbarger’s advice to her fellow students at Tusculum is to “never give up. Always push yourself to be better, to do better. If you can muster the will to keep doing what you need to succeed, you will. You will make your dreams a reality and, better yet, you will believe in yourself. I think that it’s also important to make friends you can trust and love and to keep them always.”
The daughter of Kyle and Rebecca Wolfenbarger, she aspires to become an English professor or an editor in the publishing industry. She is also marrying fellow May honors graduate, Kenneth Hill of White Pine, this month.