Riverland celebrates the class of 2010’s success

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On May 14, Riverland celebrated another successful academic year with 546 graduates in the class of 2010. The end of the year also provides the opportunity to celebrate the achievement of our students, employees, and college. In a year that brought record enrollments and financial challenges unparalleled in our history, I want to share a few of our recent accomplishments.

Riverland students Katherine Kirsch (Albert Lea), Sergio Hernandez (Walters) and Ivan Okhin (Genichesk, Ukraine) were named to the 2010 All-Minnesota Academic Team in recognition of their academic achievements, leadership accomplishments and service to their college and community.

Seven Riverland students placed first in state SkillsUSA competition, which qualified them for the national SkillsUSA contest in Kansas City later this month. Gold medal winners include Sergio Hernandez for extemporaneous speaking; T.J. Lynch (Blooming Prairie) for criminal justice; Amber Engebretson (Bricelyn), John Jorgenson (Austin) and T.J. Lynch for crime scene investigation; Selena Smith-Flemming (Owatonna) for customer service; Katie Kirsch for health occupation professional portfolio; and Randal Curtis (Austin) for prepared speech.

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In addition, Ivan Okhin, a Phi Theta Kappa member was selected as a Guistwhite Scholarship recipient. Guistwhite Scholars are chosen based on academic achievement, participation in Phi Theta Kappa programs and service to their colleges and communities. Okhin is one of 20 recipients for 2010 selected by a panel of independent judges from more than 791 applicants nationwide. Each Guistwhite Scholar is awarded a $5,000 scholarship for baccalaureate studies.

Ron Langrell, executive vice president for Riverland Community College, received Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2010 Administrator Award of Distinction in Orlando, Fla., in April. He was one of 24 recipients nationwide. The Administrator Award of Distinction is awarded to college vice presidents, deans or leaders other than college presidents/CEOs who have demonstrated a strong level of support for Phi Theta Kappa.

Riverland Athletics had another outstanding spring. Our softball team finished second at the Minnesota College Athletic Conference State Tournament. Laura Meyer (Minneapolis) earned Second Team All-American honors in softball. The 2010 baseball team emerged from the state and NJCAA Region 13 tournaments as champions, which led it to a second consecutive year at the Junior College World Series in Tyler, Texas. Individually, the baseball team had three players named to the All-MCAC Southern Division Team and two named to the All-State team recently. Brian Voigt (Adams) and Kyle Young (Forest Lake) were named to the All-State and All-Division teams and Shawn Pape (Winona) was named to the All-Division Team. Coach Scott Koenigs was named MCAC and Region 13 Coach of the Year.

Tiffany Carlson (Austin) claimed the grand prize in Riverland’s poetry contest. Her poem, titled “Muse,” went to national competition where it was accepted into the national anthology of Community College student poetry sponsored by the Library of Congress and the Community College Humanities Association.

These and many other accomplishments, too numerous to mention in this space, make us proud and illustrate our continuing commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.

Terrence Leas is the president of Riverland Community College.