(DALLAS) –The best, brightest and most accomplished students from the Dallas County Community College District were honored as members of the 2016 All-Texas Academic Team during an awards ceremony in Austin in late March. The All-Texas Academic Team represents the top community college scholars in the state.
The students were chosen for their excellence in academics, community involvement, leadership and the quality of the essays they submitted.
In addition to receiving medallions and certificates that commemorate their achievements, the students will be nominated for the All-USA Community College Academic Team.
“This is a great opportunity for DCCCD students because many of them will receive full scholarships to some of our transfer universities in the University of Texas System,” said Dr. Tommy Thompson, lead advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at DCCCD. “We’re very proud of these students. They’ve been excellent students on campus, and they’re the best of the best.”
Thompson added that the students were selected by their individual colleges and by PTK, the international honor society for community colleges. They will have the opportunity to transfer to universities in the UT system and other four-year institutions. “This is only the start for many students because they can apply for other scholarships,” Thompson stated. “Our students are already winners.”
The 17 students represent a diverse cross-section of the Dallas community, and many of them come from countries that have been ravaged by war, political repression and discrimination.
Cedar Valley College
· Sterling Spralls of Red Oak is majoring in performing arts and would like to become an actor. “I consider this a very high, yet surprising, honor because I am just faithfully doing what was instilled in me by my parents,” he said. “The fact that I am being recognized for such a high achievement in academia and for my community service is truly a humbling experience.”
· Christie Weber, a native of New Orleans, is a business major and already attends the University of North Texas at Dallas. She said she expects to graduate in May 2017. Weber recently became a realtor in North Texas and plans to have her own interior decorating business in the future.
· Fabiola Chavez, originally from San Diego, California, plans to transfer to a four-year university in Dallas and enter a pre-med program. “To be privileged enough to form part of the team requires not only outstanding academics but also community service, leadership and expression,” Chavez stated. “I am lucky to say that all of the accomplishments I achieved were done so because I absolutely enjoyed doing them!"
· Stephen Klehm said it is an honor to be part of the team, considering that three years ago he wasn’t even able to pass the GED test. Klehm, who lives in Mesquite, said he will start taking upper-level classes at a university this fall and will eventually pursue an MBA. “I'm fascinated by the interaction between different cultures in the business setting, and I'm excited about the direction in which international business is going,” he said.
El Centro College
· Reginald Taylor is studying general business administration at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. He received a full scholarship from PTK and expects to finish his bachelor’s degree in December 2017. He plans to attend law school and earn a juris doctorate. “I hope my determination, commitment and story will be an inspiration and encouragement to others,” Taylor said. He added that his grandmother served as an inspiration as he overcome his past mistakes.
Mountain View College
· Babatunde Adetoro is studying pharmacy and hopes to practice his skills in the United States, but he wants to help other nations, especially his native country of Nigeria. “I am very pleased to have received this honor. It feels good to know that the hours I have devoted in getting and maintaining good grades are being rewarded, even though that was not the motivation,” Adetoro stated. “I feel very privileged to have been selected for this honor.” Adetoro, who lives in Grand Prairie, attributed his achievement to the quality of education at Mountain View.
· Bianca Munoz lives in Dallas and also represented Mountain View as part of the All-Texas Academic Team.
North Lake College
· Ojaswee Giri is a native of Nepal. She emigrated to the United States as a child and now is studying accounting and finance. Giri said she plans to transfer to Southern Methodist University or the University of Texas at Dallas. Eventually she said she wants to earn a master’s degree in finance. She hopes to work for the United Nations and also work with women on financial literacy issues in developing countries, such as her native Nepal. “If we want to empower women, financial literacy is a must,” Giri said.
· Lina Patel is a first-generation college student who was honored as a silver scholar in Coca Cola’s 2016 Community College Team. Patel is majoring in bio-chemistry and minoring in environmental science. Patel lives in Irving and hopes to join Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization that delivers emergency medical aid to countries affected by war, epidemics and disasters. “As a first-generation college student, achieving this honor is a great deal for me as I realize how persistence pays off,” Patel stated. “I aim to continue working this hard as I go into my four-year institution.”
· Manuel Jansen lives in Irving and is majoring in business administration. He said he plans to transfer to UT-Dallas and pursue a master’s degree. Eventually, Jansen plans to have his own financial consulting company. “This honor serves as further proof that hard work and dedication to yourself and to others does pay off,” Jansen said.
· Dragana Repaja is a finance major and lives in Irving. She said it was a privilege to be nominated by Dr. Yolanda Romero at North Lake. “She saw many strengths in me, and her kind words motivated me to continue my leadership,” Repaja stated. “This achievement is a reminder to continue pushing forward in my academics and service work. I am honored to be a member of the All-Texas Academic Team!”
· Manuella Logbo is from the Western African nation of Ivory Coast. Her major is chemical engineering. Logbo said she expects to graduate from North Lake this spring and hopes to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin and eventually pursue a master’s degree in bioengineering. “Being selected for the 2016 All-Texas Academic Team is not only an honor for me, but it also is a meaningful achievement,” Logbo said. “It is the culmination of all the hard work, time and energy that I put into my academics to become a better leader.”
· Lena Ngungu already has been accepted at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science. “This honor is a reminder of the potential I have and a step toward my goal of making a difference in Congo, my home country, by applying the knowledge and skills I am currently acquiring in the U.S.,” Ngungu stated.
· Jean Guiton is majoring in civil engineering and plans to transfer to Texas Tech University or Texas A&M University. Guiton is from Ivory Coast and expects to go to graduate school after he earns his bachelor’s degree. “Being selected as a member of the All-Texas Academic Team is very significant to me. I hope this is the beginning of my long journey as a scholar and a leader and that it will set the pace for my future endeavors,” Guiton said.
· Caleb Thibodeaux of Flower Mound also represented North Lake as part of the All-Texas Academic Team.
· Melissa Savoy is majoring in accounting and minoring in anthropology. Savoy lives in Dallas and plans to transfer to SMU in the fall. Savoy said, “I am extremely honored to receive this designation among so many well-deserving students. I am grateful to the sponsors and those involved with this award for their support and recognition of community college students.” Savoy added that she plans to pursue a master’s degree.
· Samra Tariq is majoring in chemical engineering and plans to transfer to Texas A&M or UT-Austin. “Never could I imagine being recognized for my efforts in academia in such a prestigious way. It was incredible to know there were people following, supporting and motivating me throughout my journey,” Tariq said. “Not only does this honor amplify my level of confidence as a student and as a leader, it also made me realize that with hard work comes reward.”
The All-Texas Academic Team awards are sponsored by the University of Texas System, the Texas Association of Community Colleges, Baylor University, Austin College, Midwestern State University, the University of the Incarnate Word and the University of North Texas.
For more information about DCCCD’s All-Texas Academic Team, please call Dr. Tommy Thompson at 214-860-8272 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.