The third of six children, Sheila Adams attributes much of her academic success to her family, especially her oldest brother, the first member of the family to attend college, and her parents, who taught her the value of education at an early age. She took the lessons about hard work and perseverance with her when, in ninth grade, she left her family in New York to attend Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut.
There, Sheila excelled academically, earning a place on the Dean’s List every term. It was in student government that she found her niche, however. She served on Student Council from freshman year, holding the office of class president for two terms and vice-president for one. Her teachers describe her as an assertive but diplomatic advocate for her classmates, and an accessible leader. Consequently, Sheila was often tapped for leadership positions, both in and out of the classroom. She was vice-president of the Afro-Latino Student Alliance, captain of varsity track and field, and captain of the step squad. As a dorm prefect, she served as peer counselor to upperclassmen and leader of underclassmen.
Recognition of her academic excellence and leadership has come in the form of awards for “good influence, industry, sound scholarship, and honorable conduct,” and “enthusiasm towards studies and extracurricular activities.” Sheila received the Principal’s Leadership Award and is a National Achievement Finalist. She has also excelled in athletics, participating in cross-country, track and field, and basketball.
Sheila worked for two summers at Henry Street Settlement’s Parents’ Resource Center, providing childcare while parents attended GED classes and tutoring for the GED exams as well. Besides helping to develop her work skills, the experience afforded her the opportunity of contributing to the support of her own family. As a Ron Brown Scholar, Sheila looks forward to finding other ways to give back to her family and community.