Kansas will salute the top community college scholars for their academic accomplishments in an award ceremony Thursday, Feb. 13 in Topeka, including two from Seward County Community College/Area Technical School in Liberal, Kansas.
Representing SCCC/ATS are Jose Covarrubias and Azucena Juarez.
Covarrubias of Liberal is a sophomore majoring in pharmacy, who plans to transfer to Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
He developed an interest in pharmacy when an acquaintance was taking medication that was too strong for him. “My goal is to give the right prescriptions to the patients and prevent this from happening to anybody else.”
He said he would like to return to the Liberal area to practice and eventually own his own pharmacy. “I want to do this to help people from my community, specially those people who do not speak English.”
Covarrubias is the public relations representative for PTK and a member of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and TRiO. Because of his love of soccer, he has helped coach a Kids Inc. soccer team and the girl’s soccer team at West Middle School.
He said he decided to come to SCCC/ATS because he wanted to be close to his family for two more years and save money while preparing to transfer to SWOSU. My sister came here and she told me there were really nice people and teachers and that it was not a huge school.
There are only two ways to have a better future, he said. One is winning the lottery and the second is going to college. He encourages everyone to attend college because it is not only going to make an impact on them but their family and their future as well.
This award tells him that “all the sacrifices I have done are paying off. I have worked as hard as I can to maintain good grades and this just motivates me even more to keep working even harder.”
Juarez, who was originally from Bakersfield, Calif., chose Criminal Justice as her major because “I would be in a better position to help people with this major.” As a Liberal resident now, SCCC/ATS was a good choice for her because it was close to home and a good school.
This award represents “a lot of hard work and it's an honor to have been chosen.” She has participated in the many community events that Phi Theta Kappa has worked with throughout the year, “but I also try to give back to the community in little ways such as helping someone when they're confused or lost.”
She encourages others to think very carefully before making the decision to go to college. Having at least some college education will help when it comes to obtaining a job.
Two scholars from each of the 19 Kansas Community Colleges have been named to the 2014 All-Kansas Community College Academic Team, sponsored by the international headquarters of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees and the Kansas Council of Community College Presidents.
Each is also a nominee for the 2014 All-USA Community College Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today, Phi Theta Kappa, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.
Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for students attending community and two-year colleges. Membership is based on high grade point averages and other criteria, with members focusing on scholastic achievement and service to community and campus.
Since 1991, Phi Theta Kappa, USA Today and the American Association of Community Colleges have sponsored the national All-USA Academic Team program. The Kansas program is an affiliate, and the Kansas students are all nominees for the national honor.
Each student will receive a proclamation issued by the governor of Kansas, an educational stipend, and an academic medallion.
About 500 U.S. community college students will compete for places on the first, second and third national teams. First team members each receive $2,500 stipends, and will be featured in USA Today along with second and third team members. Team members are also presented with medallions
Among Kansans selected for national honors since the annual recognition program began are Donna Shank, SCCC/ATS first team, 1995, Brandon Sutton, SCCC/ATS second team, 1996, and Marivell Mendoza, bronze, 2013.