Village People: Shantiah Watt, Triton’s President for a Day

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Shantiah Watt, who was Triton College’s president for a day. | Courtesy Triton College 

Shantiah Watt, a student at Stevenson Middle School, 1630 N. 20th in Melrose Park, was selected to be Triton’s President for a Day on Nov. 13 after winning an essay contest that called for students to write about leaders they admire.

Watt chose NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson, one of the subjects of the movie, Hidden Figures.

“I wrote about Katherine Johnson because she is very similar to me,” Shantiah said. ”She is an African American woman good with Science and Math, and she is a great role model.”

Watt and her fellow students were allowed to visit different areas around Triton, including the newly renovated East Campus Greenhouse and the Engineering Technology lab. They also discussed a range of topics with the college’s faculty and staff, including gardening and sustainable building practices, and how those areas affect their everyday lives.

Village people

Watt, Triton’s President for a Day, with Triton’s actual president, Mary-Rita Moore. | Courtesy Triton College 

For lunch, the group of students dined with Triton College President Mary-Rita Moore, and discussed with her what qualities are important in effective leaders and role models.

“The students of District 89 schools were thoughtful and engaging, and I truly enjoyed spending time with them,” Moore said. “I am confident that they will succeed in any path they choose, and I hope to see them back campus as visitors and students in the near future.”

Watt’s presidential duties included reviewing college materials and encouraging students. She also gave her feedback on Triton’s many programs that are currently being developed to provide extra support to students.

“It was a lot of responsibility, and I was into that,” Shantiah said of her experience. “There were also fun parts.”

According to a Triton statement, the “President for a Day challenge is part of the Office of the President Initiatives aimed to strengthen relationships with students and community members from within the Triton College district.

“We look forward to expanding the initiative to include other schools and organizations within Triton’s district.” VFP

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