Marion County High School senior Zachary Essex has been named the MCPS Student Ambassador of the Week by ambassador advisors Laurie Followell and Troy Benningfield.

 This is Essex’s third year as a student ambassador.

 “Zachary is a kind, committed leader who is a steady presence in our ambassador program.  His leadership is evident in the way he volunteers and assists in organizing our projects,” Followell said. “I have complete confidence in his ability to lead, and his leadership style is extremely effective.  Zachary shows respect to everyone that he encounters, regardless of the situation.  He is one of the best mentors in our group when we work with middle school students.  One of the qualities I appreciate the most about Zachary is how he naturally he assumes leadership roles.  I recall a recent example when he seamlessly stepped up to assist a student whit ACT preparation. Zachary Essex is a most deserving Ambassador of the Week!”

Benningfield echoed those sentiments:

“Zachary continues to prove himself as an outstanding Knight,” he said. “He has grown so much as a student leader and especially as a public speaker. His humbleness is his strength and it is an inspiration to our entire group.  He has embraced his school experience and made the most of the opportunities in front of him.  I respect Zachary very much and am proud he has continued to serve our school community as an ambassador.  I have no doubt that he is on a collision course with an amazingly successful future.”

Essex noted his development as a leader and a public speaker through his experience as an ambassador.

 “I’ve definitely learned to be more outgoing at events whether it’s board meetings or the Reading Celebration,” Essex said. “The more outgoing you are, you not only make the experience better for others, you make it better for yourself […] At our different retreats I’ve spoken and I feel that it’s made me more confident when I speak in public.”

 He also said the leadership program has taught him important lessons beyond just his individual growth.

 “[The ambassador program] has taught me to create a sense of community, whether it be with the mentorship program or my fellow ambassadors – I feel like I’ll take that with me,” Essex said. “It’s an amazing club to be a part of -- you get to help so much in the community and you learn a lot of things.”

 Now in its seventh year, the MCPS Student Ambassador organization provides leadership and public speaking opportunities to its members as they represent the school district at community and school events.