New Student Trustee is Completing High School and Earning an AA leadership training, so I figured it would be a good experience.” As the “student voice” on the board, DeWalt wants to make sure students feel comfortable on campus – especially in light of recent proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy. “It’s important that all cultures feel welcome here.” DeWalt, who turns 18 in March, began home schooling as a sixth-grader, when her family moved to Ayer from western Massachusetts. What began as a temporary arrangement became permanent, once she was old enough to attend high school. “I like the diversity of the student population here at Middlesex, and all the professors I’ve had have been really good – and really dedicated.” More and more, DeWalt has come to appreciate the wide variety of livedexperiences she finds around her at MCC. “There are all ages in my classes. In one ‘American Literature’ course, I was the youngest, at 16, and the oldest was in her 60s or 70s – and there were people of different ages in between. “That was really a cool class because there were a lot of different perspectives. Some of the parents would give the ‘mom’ perspective, and I could give the younger perspective. We had a lot of good discussions.” As her confidence has grown, so has her course load. Last year – what would have been her junior year of high school – DeWalt enrolled almost full time at Middlesex. After two more full-time semesters this fall and spring – plus perhaps a summer course or two – she hopes to earn an associate degree by the time she receives her high school diploma. DeWalt is looking to graduate from Middlesex with a degree in English Literature and possibly also World Languages. “I’d like to graduate from a four-year college in two or three years,” she explained. “I might want to go to graduate school – I don’t know exactly what my future holds. So, having my AA will give me a head start.” — Kathy Register Sierra DeWalt student profile S ierra DeWalt has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments for a 17-year-old home-schooled student. In addition to taking college courses through MCC’s Dual Enrollment Academy, she has won a Rotary Youth Leadership Award, participated in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program, and acted in several independent/student films. A resident of Ayer, DeWalt also speaks French, is looking forward to learning Italian, studies karate, ballet and contemporary dance, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national honor society for two-year colleges. Now she can add “2017-18 Student Member of the MCC Board of Trustees” to her resumé. DeWalt was elected to the Board of Trustees last spring, after Steven Rossi, Director of Leadership Development & Student Activities, suggested she run for the post. “I haven’t had as many opportunities to serve in student-government positions, since I’m home schooled. But, I have done a lot of “My mom asked if I wanted to go to a high school or keep home schooling. I was doing a lot of acting projects then, and I could audition for more films with a more flexible schedule. So I chose to home school.” DeWalt caught the acting bug early and her parents encouraged the interest. “I did a few school plays when I was younger and I liked it. So, we began looking for more acting opportunities.” But acting has moved to the back burner now that she’s focused on earning an associate degree – then transferring to a four-year school to study English Literature. Three years ago, during what would have been her sophomore year in high school, DeWalt enrolled in a couple of courses at Middlesex. She was 15. “At first, I was kind of nervous. I wondered if everybody would know I was in high school. But I found that I could keep up. So, after I had that little bit of confidence, it made it easier to make friends and participate in class. Profiles | 13