Britney Augustin and Fredrik Haave are the Lees-McRae Students of Excellence for November 2021

Seniors Britney Augustin and Fredrik Haave have spent their time at Lees-McRae making the college a better, stronger place, which is why they have been chosen as the November 2021 Students of Excellence.  

“The Students of Excellence program celebrates excellence in our student community,” said Melanie Hulbert, vice president for student affairs. “Faculty and staff will be asked to nominate a student who they have witnessed, seen, heard, or observed demonstrating this important quality. The Office of Student Affairs is excited about launching this program as it will be an opportunity for the Lees-McRae community to continue to ‘live out’ its motto of In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains.”    

Augustin and Haave are both Business Administration majors and student-athletes. Augustin is a member of the women’s track and field team and Haave, who is double majoring in Psychology, plays on the men’s soccer team 

Haave and Augustin shared what being recognized as Students of Excellence means to them and how they personally define “excellence.” 

Tell us a little about yourself, and why you chose Lees-McRae College.  

Augustin: I am currently a senior at Lees-McRae. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida. My parents migrated from Haiti, making me of Haitian descent. I had never traveled outside of Florida prior to me attending Lees-McRae, so I had a desire for adventure once I went off to college. What attracted me to Lees-McRae was the small community of individuals that were delighted to help in any way they were able to. The mountains played another factor, as it was a complete 180-degree change from the environment in Florida. 

Haave: I am a senior from right outside of Oslo, Norway. I have been part of the men's soccer team for all four years, and I am studying Psychology and Business Administration in a dual major. The reason I chose Lees-McRae was primarily because I was looking to pursue an undergrad degree and combine it with soccer. I had help from an agency back in Norway, and our coach at the time seemed very welcoming. After I did some research on the school, it was clear that this was the most unique choice I could find. A little school in the mountains, with small but beautiful facilities. A simple search on Google Pictures was enough for me! 

What is special about the Lees-McRae community? 

Augustin: There are many special factors that I have discovered about Lees-McRae and the town of Banner Elk. What I have found most special about this community is that it teaches open-mindedness. Everyone has a group of people they associate themselves with, but being that the community is small, one has no choice but to sometimes step outside of their safety net of friends and meet people they typically wouldn’t talk to. Through this, one forms irreplaceable bonds. This teaches people to be more open minded in social environments and step out of their comfort zone. Personally, I have met many people who I never would have spoken to, and when I do speak to them, I am more than appreciative of what I get out of the conversations. 

Haave: There are so many things that make our community special. The one I would like to highlight is our professors. Given the little place we are in, I have been amazed over how many excellent professors we have at Lees-McRae. They are knowledgeable, passionate, and caring, which I feel is setting a great example for us students. It has certainly helped me find that inner drive to work hard academically. 

What activities, clubs, teams, or groups are you involved in at Lees-McRae? Why is it important to you to be involved in co-curricular programing?  

Haave: Being part of co-curricular activities is a crucial part of our community. It is what makes the everyday a little more exciting, creating external opportunities for people to learn and have fun. This semester, I have been a part of the counseling center at Lees-McRae, as a part of my internship. There I have assisted with all the different activities that the counseling center does. I have had a project about mindfulness, which I have been lucky enough to teach for a couple of classes and bring more awareness around campus about why mindfulness can be so important. It has been a unique chance for me to grow as a person and pursue the career I am looking for, showing how important it is to be involved in such co-curricular activities. 

What is your definition of excellence?  

Augustin: Excellence to me is an action that will influence others, an action that does not conform to the base line or even a little bit better than the baseline. It is an action that changes how others act and their perspective. 

Haave: As cheesy as it may sound, excellence for me is failure. What I have learned throughout my college years is that failure is probably the most important ingredient to success. For me, that has been on the soccer field and in the classroom. After failing multiple times in both areas, but never giving up, I have learned that there is a unique importance to getting through adversity. I recently came across a quote which I thought described exactly what I am talking about: "success is 99% failure." Excellence to me is attempting to succeed 99 times and fail, but at the hundredth attempt you succeed, because you never gave up. 

What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Student of Excellence?  

Augustin: To be chosen as a student of excellence gives me much joy and excitement. Many times, I feel like I am only doing the bare minimum and that the work I am putting in is no more special than other students. Then I get an award or someone acknowledges their appreciation for my actions, and I become more motivated to dig deeper and tap into what I can truly do since my bare minimum is still helping so many people. 

Haave: To be chosen as a student of excellence was honestly quite surprising and humbling. But I am proud and happy that I have received this award. It is a manifestation that success most definitely happens after failing multiple times, and I can easily say that it is all worth it. 

Do you know a student who makes Lees-McRae a better place just by being themselves? Nominate them for Students of Excellence here 

By Emily WebbNovember 29, 2021