Student dedicates self to school, church and community

By Laura Sweeney

Like all college students, Cassie Yarnall studies for tests, prepares for projects and dreams of her future goals; however, that would only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Yarnall, a junior at Madonna University.

A Sign Language Studies major, Yarnall was awarded the 2010 St. Catherine Award.  In addition to having a near perfect 3.98 GPA and planning to graduate in three and a half years next December, Yarnall has dedicated many hours to volunteer work and her community. 

The university presents the St. Catherine Award to a student that not only has a GPA of a minimum of 3.25, but also demonstrates a commitment to service in their church, community and college, and maintains high ideals of a Catholic college education, according to Dr. Connie Tingson-Gatuz, Vice President of Student Life.

The award was a shock to Yarnall; however, her list of involvements could be shocking to others. 

At Madonna, Yarnall takes part in the Student United Way as well as the Scope Club.  In the past, she took part in the Resident Hall Council as their president and Campus Ministry activities.  Besides school work and the aforementioned activities, she's also a member of the Madonna University's Cross Country team.

Yarnall offers her skills and knowledge in sign language studies to her church - the Apostolic Church of Auburn Hills- and especially their young members.

"Right now, I work as a volunteer interpreter mostly every week I interpret for one Deaf member that we have [at church].  And for about two and a half years, I worked as a Sunday school teacher," said Yarnall.  "I've worked a lot with the children's sign language group. They interpret songs and stuff, so I work with them too."

When her schedule allows, she goes on Madonna's trips to Gleaners and she will begin to tutor at as a volunteer at charter school again.  She spends many hours with children in the community, but she looks forward to visiting the elderly.

"Soon, I'll be starting to go and visit the Deaf seniors every week to keep them company and to chit-chat," said Yarnall.

Her current dream after she graduates is to become an interpreter. However, in the near future she plans to return to school to get her graduate degree in linguistics.

"Recognizing students, like Cassie, for their outstanding commitment to service promotes a culture of service at Madonna University," said Dr. Tingson-Gatuz. "Other students are inspired by her achievements which can become positively contagious to the community at large.

We are confident that she will continue to make positive contributions long after she graduates from Madonna University."

Cassie urges other students to get involved at Madonna and outside of school in order to improve their entire school experience. 

"It really makes school so much more meaningful, and then when you graduate you have more to show for it than just a degree," said Yarnall. "You grew as a person and you've learned more than just about your field of study. You're cultured and you're a more well-rounded person."