Logan Rivers earns Polly Howser Leadership Award


Logan Rivers poses with her award in front of its namesake’s picture during the reception following the assembly.

Freshman Logan Rivers was honored as the 2022 recipient of the Polly Howser Leadership Award during a special assembly last Thursday. Due to Covid restrictions that prevented an assembly in 2021, last year’s recipient, Preston Swarat, was also recognized.  

This annual award is given to a freshman female leader who displays perseverance, optimism, adaptability, confidence, and service. These characteristics honor the award’s namesake, Polly Howser, who is the only woman to have ever served as chairwoman of the Hammond Board of Trustees. She is largely credited with keeping Hammond afloat during financial obstacles and leadership transitions. 

Grit and perseverance are the most common words used by faculty to describe Polly Howser, who passed away in 2019. Howser chaired the search committee that hired Dr. Herb Barks, beginning a new era that contributed to the school’s vision today. Because of her contribution to Hammond, she was honored as a Life Trustee.  

“She commanded an immense sense of respect from the other members in that committee,” said Dr. Ragan, who taught English when Howser was Chair. “She was capable of chairing board meetings and meetings with the search committee with just a rare combination of authority and humor. Everybody was very respectful of her, but she liked to joke around. She liked to make the meetings light, and she was aware that there was serious business taking place, but she wanted us to enjoy the time that we spent in the meetings.”  

The award announcement was preceded by a Zoom presentation from Melissa Stockwell as part of the Polly Howser Endowment Speaker Series. Stockwell was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 2004 she was deployed to Iraq where her vehicle hit an IED, leading to the amputation of her left leg. 

After extensive rehab, Stockwell decided that she was not finished serving her country. Her first appearance was in the Beijing 2008 Paralympics for swimming. After that she took up triathlon, going to the Paralympics for Rio 2016 where she won bronze. She runs Tolsma Stockwell Prosthetics (in Colorado) with her husband and is a co-founder and coach for Dare2tri, an organization that encourages recreational and competitive adaptive sport. 

 A panel made up of class president Lyndsay Moore and the 2020-2021 Leadership Award winner Preston Swarat asked Stockwell questions about her leadership experiences in the army and paralympics. In her parting advice she emphasized trusting yourself, being proud of who you are, and that as a leader you need to be out there with your team.  

The 2021-2022 award winner Logan Rivers already exemplifies these traits when in the classroom and on the soccer field. “When I walked into the theater, I saw my family look at me with big smiles. I knew something big was about to happen. When Mr. Lumpkin said my name, I was surprised. Also, I felt honored for receiving the award,” said Rivers. 

As part of the award, Rivers will get to attend a leadership program, although the specific program remains undecided. The goal is to promote female leaders and further develop the qualities Polly Howser stood for.