Meet Jessica Hoffmann '22, McKendree's 2021 Lincoln Academy Student Laureate!

Photo of Jessica Hoffmann ‘22

By Tina (Napper) Tebbe '08

Philanthropic, enthusiastic, and inspiring: these are only some of the words one could use to describe, Jessica Hoffmann '22, McKendree’s 2021 recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. The recently-graduated secondary education mathematics major who hails from Belleville, Ill., was nominated by faculty members who described her in similar words: prepared, engaged, a mature leader, and one of the most talented young people they have met.

“She exemplifies the characteristics of a student laureate,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, associate provost.

Quotation Graphic"She is passionate about her future work as a high school mathematics teacher, and it is certain that she will be a devoted mentor for the young people under her supervision."

To be named a student laureate is to be given the state’s highest student honor, which recognizes one noteworthy senior’s leadership, service, and excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. It also celebrates that student’s commitment to civic engagement – an area in which Jessica certainly had shone as a student. She was a highly active member of the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service on campus, participating and even coordinating numerous service projects, including Empty Bowls during Hunger and Homeless Week, Into The Streets during New Student Orientation Week, the Special Olympics, and more. Her volunteerism extended to serving her home community as well, in which she would give her time to her church’s parish community, grade school, and high school by attending and coordinating events for various service groups. Two of her favorite service projects included volunteering at Cedar Ridge Nursing Home and Without Limits Dance Company, both in Lebanon.

“My parents have always instilled in me to be a good leader, but more specifically, a servant leader. From a very young age, I witnessed and helped them as they volunteered within our church community. They instilled in me the values of a servant leader and helped push me to give back whenever possible,” Jessica said.

Quotation Graphic"It feels good to bring joy to someone’s life. It is also important to remain open-minded because the people one serves will often help someone right back. Everyone has a story to tell and a lesson to share, and these are what I love to share with the people I volunteer for when giving back."

As a student, Jessica was a member of the McKendree varsity women’s soccer team, a student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi, and a member of Sigma Zeta, Phi Eta Sigma, and Pi Mu Epsilon. In addition, she was a member of the Academic Excellence Celebration Planning Committee and a tutor for the Student Success Center on campus.
Jessica Hoffmann '22 Receiving an Award
Jessica’s major accolades as a Bearcat included making the President’s List every semester of college, being asked to become a student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi for being in the top 7.5 percent of the junior class in 2020, and being chosen for the Active Collegians Engaged in Services (ACES) award, which is awarded to students who complete over 100 hours of service each year.

Jessica was also selected as one of the two students for the Technos International program for Technos International Week in Japan during the summer of 2019. “This was an unforgettable, exhilarating two-week look into another culture,” she said. “It opened my eyes to other ways of life and reiterated the importance of embracing diversity.”

Mathematics is Jessica’s true passion and has been that way since she was young. “It is certainly no lie that math can be difficult at times, yet for some reason, it has forever remained one of my passions. Math is tricky, yet rewarding, and that is something I wish to share with today’s youth,” she said.

Quotation Graphic"I am confident that teaching secondary mathematics is the right thing for me and that I am on the path I am meant to be following."

Now that she has graduated, Jessica plans to teach her future students problem-solving skills and help them grow to be responsible, intelligent, and resilient adults who are prepared for college or another career path. “When I student-taught, I began to love each and every one of my students and cared about them as individuals. I want to make my future classes enjoyable so that my students enjoy coming and can later become successful adults,” Jessica said.

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