Student wins Transforming Lives award

By Cailean McLeod

Jonathan Tyler Gilmore received the 2016 Transforming Lives Award last quarter for his success at Whatcom Community College.

“The award is very significant to me because it represents what not only veterans are capable of, but also what people from broken families are capable of,” Gilmore said.

Angela Enderberg, Spanish professor at Whatcom and one of Gilmore’s teachers this quarter, describes him as a hard worker who has a good mix of serious dedication and easygoing nature. Enderberg said that she had nominated him for the award.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that he is very charismatic,” said Jarid Corbitt, assistant director of Whatcom’s veteran services. He says that he regularly attends meetings with Gilmore to discuss improvements with the veterans program.

“I was just really impressed and struck by his story of overcoming some challenges in life and in spite of that to have so much success and on his way to even greater success and bigger accomplishments,” Enderberg said.

According to the website for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges’ Board of Trustees, the Transforming Lives Award is given to students who turn their lives around by choosing higher education.

Gilmore said he grew up in a conservative household. “I was kicked out multiple times for my sexuality and my issues in general” he said. “There wasn’t any support for gays in general where I lived.”

Every year, the Washington State Association of College Trustees picks five students from a list of potential nominees from across the state’s colleges, according to the website. This year, Gilmore was one of the five.

Ever since coming to Whatcom and applying for Student Life in August 2015, Gilmore has achieved a perfect grades and has worked as Student Life’s Director of Operations.

Gilmore said that the reason he won the award was that “I have a very high GPA, I am also on student leadership, and I came from a very unfortunate childhood and overcame it.”

The award recipients have received $500 from the Association and were invited to the ACT Winter Conference last January to share their stories.

Gilmore said that right after high school he joined the Marines. “Being in the Marine Corps taught me discipline, courage, and the strength to speak out against adversity,” he said.

A month after being honorably discharged, Gilmore enrolled at Whatcom.

Enderberg said “He’s a remarkable young man. I respect him, and just really impressed by all his accomplishments in spite of a tough childhood.”

“I am extremely proud of Tyler … he in our eyes is just an accomplishment in the classroom,” Corbitt said.

“I would say that every second or minute you spend guiding students is beneficial, it has such a great effect on students,” Gilmore said. “It substantially increases their chances of success.”




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