Gareth Rowlands, a senior majoring in middle childhood education, has been recognized as “Student of the Block” at Tusculum College for the Seventh Block.
Rowlands was honored at a ceremony Thursday, April 21, in the Niswonger Commons. The Student of the Block Award is presented each block by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize students for academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community. A plaque honoring Rowlands’ accomplishments will be displayed in the Commons and other campus buildings.
The native of Benllech, Wales, was described as the embodiment of the core values and skills that Tusculum wants to instill in its students – personal integrity, civic responsibility, a strong sense of community, appreciation for critical thinking and reflective judgment and commitment to continual growth.
Rowlands has maintained a 3.22 grade point average within the rigorous education major while balancing a heavy extracurricular load. His aspiration is to become an educator in order to positively affect the lives of youth as a teacher and coach as others did for him. He credits Pauletta Johnson, director of field experience and assistant professor of education, as a helping hand along his educational journey. “Dr. Johnson is always straight to the point and always willing to help,” he said. “She has always gone above and beyond any request given to her and is an asset to Tusculum.”
What brought Rowlands to Tusculum is football. He came to campus to continue his athletic career as a kicker/punter for the Pioneer football team. Shining in his position, Rowlands garnered numerous awards including the Don Hansen All America first team, the Daktronics NCAA II All-America first team, Associated Press Little All-America second team, 2010 D2Football.com All-America second team and an invitation to play in the 2011 Cactus Bowl, the NCAA Division II Senior All-Star game. He holds the school records for consecutive field goals and consecutive extra points.
With this success, Rowlands remains the same humorous, light-hearted, intelligent and compassionate person he was when he arrived on campus. He said that involvement with the football team “has not only allowed me to improve my athletic abilities, but has allowed me the opportunity for personal growth. Being on the team has made me realize the importance of family and teamwork. I have realized that the vast majority of work that goes on behind the scenes, and you only get good results based upon the amount work that is put in.”
Looking for a challenge and an opportunity to become more involved on campus, Rowlands began serving as a resident assistant. “Gareth is one of those rare RAs who knows a great deal of the student body and can manage a situation with ease because of his positive rapport with students,” said Bonnie Weston, senior student life coordinator. “His ability to manage his commitment to the residence life program, his other commitments with football and the Boys and Girls Club of Greeneville/Greene County never ceases to amaze me, and I fully appreciate the work he has put in to make our campus community what it is today.”
Rowlands works with the Boys and Girls Club, mentoring the youth and has become a favorite of the employees of the organization. “Gareth has worked approximately 480 hours at the Boys and Girls Club where he represents Tusculum as a positive role model in the Greeneville community,” said Bette Dowd, former assistant certification officer and COG office coordinator, who nominated him for the award. “He is well admired by the children of Greene County as well as the professionals he works with.”
Campus Safety Captain Josh Jordan, who also nominated Rowlands for the honor, also pointed to his efforts at the Boys and Girls Club as well as what he has done on campus. “He has done a lot for the Tusculum and greater Greeneville community,” Jordan said.
Looking back on his time at Tusculum, Rowlands cherishes most his memories of being a member of the football team and meeting his girlfriend. His advice to his fellow students is to “enjoy it while it lasts and never leave your own fate in someone else’s hands.”