An ambassador is an individual who represents a particular brand, business, or country. They are usually the first contact that someone has with the company, meaning that the qualities that the individual exudes will reflect back on the brand as a whole; this is why having excellent ambassadors is an absolute must. The CCES Ambassador program is a volunteer program for 9th-12th grade students to assist new and visiting students and their families. These students go above and beyond to help by guiding Open House tours, familiarizing new students and faculty with the campus, communicating with potential students, and helping conduct special events. The program’s main purpose is to ease the school transition for new students and be responsible, helpful hosts for those who are visiting.
Gracie Patat, Class of 2019, was not only a CCES Ambassador for all four of her high school years, but she was also an Ambassador chair, a senior-only position that helped the faculty advisor, Leigh Johnstone, Director of Admission, train and lead the remaining ambassadors. Johnstone described Gracie as an “outgoing, welcoming, helpful, and thoughtful” person and a true asset to the program. When asked about her experience, Gracie stated, “As ambassadors, most of the time when we were escorting a new student around school or speaking with a potential family, we were some of the first faces they met on campus. This definitely added some pressure when giving tours because we always wanted to put our best foot forward. Despite the pressure of it all, it was always extremely rewarding when I saw the incoming student and their family later that year, knowing that we made a positive impact on their decision in coming to Christ Church.”
Her previous ambassador experience helped shape her decision to become one at Clemson University. After her first semester on campus, she decided that she wanted to become more involved in student life activities and broaden her social circle. She remembered how welcomed and accepted that her summer Orientation Ambassador made her feel and wanted to impact others in the same manner, but was unsure whether she would be accepted or not due to the sheer amount of Clemson attendees and, most likely, applicants as well. She finally decided to send her application in and believes that it was the best decision that she could have made. Gracie believes that her past role as a CCES Ambassador, and her education and experience at Christ Church, fully prepared her for anything that she would encounter at Clemson. “When I was an ambassador chair during my senior year, we took on many responsibilities when helping new students and their families learn their way around Christ Church. These skills and experiences I had in Upper School prepared me for what all Clemson had in store for me.”
Gracie says that the biggest similarity between being a CCES Ambassador and a Clemson Ambassador are the various personal interactions that she has with students and their families. One of the many jobs of both a CCES and a Clemson ambassador is to contact them during the summer; this action helps them to not only feel welcomed into the community, but also show that they are now a part of the family.
The characteristics and qualities that are necessary for an ambassador seem to run in the Patat family. Emme Patat, Class of 2021, is following in her older sister’s footsteps. She has been a CCES Ambassador for three years and will serve as an Ambassador chair for her senior year.
While attending CCES, Gracie impacted the lives of numerous students, faculty, and their families through her time as an ambassador. Her extroverted personality paired with her desire to serve and disposition to put others first makes for a combination that is perfectly tailored to an ambassador’s role. CCES has no doubt that she will certainly make a difference in the lives of many incoming Clemson University students.