Extraordinary Leaders: January and February


The Office of Student Life presents the Extraordinary Leader award to outstanding students each month. According to Gail Tuttle, vice president of Student Life, the entire HPU community – students, faculty and staff, make nominations, and the nominees are asked to complete an online survey about their academic, social and charitable involvement on campus and in the community. A committee of HPU administrators selects the students that best embody true leadership. Results are printed in the Campus Chronicle each month.


Leslie Touassi is not only receiving an extraordinary education at HPU. She’s learning how to provide one to others through a career in education.

Touassi is on the fast track to that career. She’s currently an elementary education major with a minor in special education, and she’s been accepted into the university’s Fifth Year Master’s Program for Elementary Education. She’s also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society. In addition to her student teaching duties, she strives to serve the university and community as a whole through volunteer work, taking on extra projects and by helping all students the best she can.

On the HPU campus, she is a Resident Assistant. Through that role, she works towards building a safe, cohesive environment on her residence hall and ensures that her freshman residents always feel welcomed and valued at HPU.

She’s making a big impact right here in High Point, but her dreams stretch beyond that after she finishes her master’s degree.

“Before settling down and teaching at an inner city public school, I hope to teach in military bases overseas and to somehow positively impact the world,” she says.

Bryan Ijames, a senior at HPU, received the Extraordinary Leader award for January 2012.

As a senior, Brian Ijames is making plans to enroll in a physician assistant program after he graduates in May with his degree in biology. Though he’s graduating and advancing in his academic career, he certainly isn’t leaving without having made a mark on campus.

Ijames has been a musical inspiration on campus by singing in the Genesis Gospel Choir since he was a freshman. His voice has been heard numerous times at musical events on campus, but he’s been heard off campus as well. He says his musical involvement allowed him to impact and build relationships with local churches in the area, such as Temple Memorial Baptist Church in High Point.

He was drawn to HPU by its Honor Code, which is a pledge signed by every student to maintain moral and academic integrity. He says he is a moral and religious person who strives to embody everything outlined in the Honor Code in his daily life.

Beyond music, he has kept a stellar academic record. He has made the Dean’s List every semester at HPU and has been a Millis Scholar since January 2009. And, to further his experience in the medical field, he has worked as a CNA while attending HPU so he will be better prepared for a physician assistant program.

“I believe that Bryan has the motivation, work ethic, and intellectual ability to be successful in a physician’s assistant program and to become a caring and compassionate physician assistant,” says Dr. Kelli Sapp, assistant professor of biology, who has had Ijames in several of her classes.


John Purcell, a junior at HPU, received the Extraordinary Leader award for February 2012.

Junior John Purcell found the freedom he was looking for at HPU to double major in both psychology and music. As a presidential scholar and member of the Honors Program, Psi Chi – the psychology honors program, The Order of the Omega – a Greek national honor society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success, it’s amazing that he also finds time to tutor English, psychology and music at HPU. But he doesn’t keep his talents inside the walls of the university. He also offers free voice lessons each week to the children in the community at the Macedonia Family Resource Center.

His love of music also has led him to be involved in three choirs on campus, and currently he is a member of the Chamber Singers. He’s also a resident assistant in Finch and former vice president of the Peer Mentor program.

It’s easy to see that Purcell is a busy student, but pushing yourself to succeed is what it’s all about, he says.

“My three years at this university have taught me eloquent communication skills, leadership qualities, the importance of a strong work ethic, and how to conduct myself in a professional business environment. The emphasis on self-driven learning at HPU has encouraged me to work more proactively towards my future goals.”

Those future goals include many more ambitious dreams, including going to graduate school to earn a Ph. D. in psychology.

Campus Chronicle
Add a comment