2021 Gervais-Munger Award | Leighton Carruthers, Saint John

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Leighton Carruthers was new to our team this Fall.  As we walked into the school to finalize Fall registrations, I was struck by an air of quiet determination.  I wasn’t quite sure where that determination was directed at the time, but that is the characteristic that causes him to be the Sea Dog’s nominee for this award.

Leighton is one of the most self-aware individuals that I have had the pleasure to work with.  His ability to self-assess is quite remarkable, but even more impressive is his focus on creating an environment for himself that supports successful outcomes.

Leighton is an excellent student.  He is self-motivated, focused and driven.  Leighton takes the time to “size up” the task ahead of him.  He is able to identify his strengths and weaknesses within the context of the activity and create a plan that will increase the likelihood he will be successful.

So how does this relate to the Gervais-Munger Award?  Math is, for many of us, a challenging subject.  Add COVID and online, heavily self-directed instruction to the mix and the challenge becomes a nightmare.

Leighton found himself frustrated and stuck but rather than let the situation determine the outcome, he was able to do some self-reflection and clearly articulate his learning style and the supports he needed to be successful.  It wasn’t about getting through math for Leighton, it was about learning, understanding and building a foundation for future studies.

And this is where the quiet determination came in.  Once provided the support he knew he required, Leighton not only caught up on his math requirements but finished early and well above the average of his peers.  Rather than let frustration dictate the outcome, his perseverance in studying a subject that presented unique challenges for him rewarded him with a good grade, a sense of accomplishment and a few extra days off over the holidays.


Text by Dr. Shelley M. Rinehart, Academic Advisor for the Saint John Sea Dogs

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