2011 Stetson University Recipient of Laptops for Leaders
Dr. T Wayne Bailey, 2011 Stetson University Recipient of Laptops for Leaders

The Laptops for Leaders program helps students and professors alike.  Students who benefit from the program have risen the ranks from war-torn countries to students who benefit from work-study programs at Stetson University.

Faculty, students, and administrators were present for the awards this year.  The first recipient, Tait Erickson, was also in attendance for the awarding of the laptops.

2011 Stetson University Recipient of Laptops for Leaders
Sia Dimitrakopoulos, 2011 Stetson University Recipient of Laptops for Leaders

According to the most recent recipient, Sia Dimitrakopoulos, she said, “For over a year I had been using the library computers to work on projects and research papers, it was very difficult because I could not work on my own time and in my own environment. When I found out I was to receive a laptop from the TC Lane [Make a Difference] Foundation through Laptops for Leaders I felt a sigh of relief, I would be able to finally work on projects and papers on my own time and in the environment of my choosing. I am sincerely grateful for everything the TC Lane [Make a Difference] Foundation has done for me and other students.”

In a recent letter from a 2009 recipient, Isidro Raul Mejia,  we learned the following:

There is a Hispanic phrase that reads, “La vida te da sorpresas.”

What this phrase reads is that life brings you surprises and as we all know life can at times be volatile. While some surprises are better than others, we have to cherish those surprises that bring light into our lives.

The time leading up to my TC Lane Leadership award was tumultuous to say the least. My father, being a construction worker, was struggling to find work. My mother did her best to help and ensure that my brother and sister had a roof over their heads.

As I was several hundred miles away the only thing that ran through my mind was the conditions under which my family found themselves. However, my mother always reminded me that I had to focus on school and ensure I could graduate. I had limited resources, but I always pushed myself through any weather condition, any hour of the day or night, to get to the Lynn Business Center, downstairs Media Center, or the Library.

The only computer I had ever had was with my brother and sister. I realized that they needed it more than I did. Given that there were several computers around campus I knew I could always find somewhere to get online to do my work.

The night Dr. Bailey called me to mention that I was being considered for the TC Lane award I began to wonder why I had been considered for such a unique gift.

Eventually, I was honored to share the award with Kameron St. Clare. Yet, the greatest gift I received that day was not material; it was the support and connection I received from the Lane family. I was humbled to know that the Lane family and Political Science department believed in me and my gifts to the point that they would go out of their way to provide me with a resource that greatly helped me complete my education at Stetson.

After receiving the laptop I was able to focus more of my time on my work
rather than worrying about where I go could or if I could find a computer to do my work on. I no longer had to worry about losing my papers or other academic documents that I greatly needed. With this wonderful gift I was able to graduate and find my first professional job!

As great as it was to receive such a wonderful material gift, the thing I cherished the most was the Lane family. Our families are the greatest gift we take for granted, at times. I consider Tom and Nanette part of my family since they allowed me to continue to “make a difference.” Tom and Nanette brought light into my life and further showed me that one person can inspire others to do greater good. I admitted that I have not spoken to them in a while, but I would like for them to know that I love them and all the
great work they do. You taught a man born into poverty that the greatest gift in the world are those people who come into our lives.

To this day I still have my TC Lane pin and have with me everywhere I go on a trip. Moreover, I have Tom and Nanette in my heart everywhere I have been and will be going. Thank you, for the one of the greatest surprises in my life.

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