A passion for Latin America, lacrosse and Greek life
Senior Tiffany Dillard has a heart for Latin America.
The Peachtree City native was drawn toward the Spanish language when her third-grade teacher shared it with her. By sixth grade, she took a Spanish class.
Many Spanish classes later, she had the opportunity to go with her church, Peachtree City Christian, to Guatemala this past summer to build homes for three underprivileged families.
"I still write to one of the families, and it's wonderful to hear from them and how their life is going," the Spanish major said. "It was just incredible to see the hearts of the people while we were there. They were so open and thankful for us coming, and it really touched my heart. It's always nice to help people, but it was also a mission for me. I actually got to see my hands actually helping people."
An English minor, Tiffany has an affinity for languages, a passion she hopes to share as a future high-school teacher. Her plan is to teach Spanish, coach a lacrosse team and travel on mission trips to Latin America in the summer.
She came to LaGrange College in part because it was launching a lacrosse program. She played lacrosse in high school and knew it was something she couldn't give up.
"I was entranced by the sport that first time I saw it played," she says. "It's fast-paced, it's brutal, it's a war sport. Luckily LaGrange started a lacrosse program when I entered as a freshman, so it was perfect timing. God put everything into place."
Besides the lacrosse team, Tiffany also found her niche in her sorority, AOII.
"I had no plans of going through rush, but my roommate's mother insisted we try it," says Tiffany, AOII's president.
"After I sistered, I found this amazing group of girls with the same morals and the same standards as I have, a group of women who encourage me to be a better person. The fact that I found that kind of by accident is amazing to me, and the fact that they chose me to lead them really touches my heart and gives me much more confidence."
Tiffany says it speaks volumes about LaGrange College that her sister, Alexis, a freshman, chose to come here after seeing how it impacted her older sister's life.
"It's funny because LaGrange's mission statement is to 'transform lives,' and that's exactly what happened to me,"
Tiffany says. "The opportunities here made me who I am today. When I got here, I was timid, shy, and didn't really speak out in class, but through my professors and people I've met here, I've really blossomed. It's crazy how coming here has affected my life so completely."
Before Tiffany becomes a high-school teacher, she plans to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from LaGrange College to complement the bachelor's degree she will receive in Spanish. The MAT program will allow her to earn a teacher's certification in high school or middle grades in one year. Tiffany hopes to land a graduate assistantship to coach lacrosse while she earns her master's degree.
"I can't wait to teach high school," she says. "In high school you have the freedom of choice. You can choose the language you want to study, and you can choose whether to engage in it. Some will choose to engage, and I want to share my passion with those students. Maybe they will see how passionate I am about it, then it will catch fire, and then it will spread. I want to be that teacher who gets them where they want to go."