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USM leadership team records third victory in a row in annual competition

A six-member team of University of Southern Maine students once again took home the top prize at the New England Regional Collegiate Leadership Competition, recently besting teams from several schools including New York University.

The USM team  — Cathy Gray, Courtney Randall, Paul Froman, Elizabeth "EB" Bernier, Julian Baker and Joe Menard — won first place

Preparation for the competition took months of work, mostly on learning how to work together and trust one another.

The competition consisted of a variety of challenges designed to test the students’ ability to work together, to communicate and act decisively.

USM’s Cathy Gray called the event a “wonderful learning experience.”

Throughout practices and the competition, she learned skills that help leaders build group cohesion and understanding, discover creative solutions and appreciate celebrating the small, incremental wins that lead to larger victories, she said.

“As a leader, I also gained valuable experience in conflict resolution and stress management,” she said.

The win marks USM’s third in a row for the annual regional competition, which was hosted by USM on April 5 and 6.

The other participating schools were the University of Maine Farmington, which placed second, the University of Maine, the Maine College of Art and Southern New Hampshire University. NYU finished third.

The USM team was assisted by co-coaches Mark Graham and Osarumwense "Sheddy" Agbonsalo.

They were led by Associate Professor Dan Jenkins, who leads the Leadership program and designed the team’s work.

“It empowers the students to be accountable not only for their learning but to their team members as well,” he said. “Together, we reinforce trust, communication and fully engaging and listening to the rest of the team.”