Best Student Awards Ceremony
Each year, PHCC recognizes outstanding club leaders with its Student Awards Ceremony—something the college takes so much pride in that it has evolved into a black-tie affair. “Everyone dresses up in formal or semi-formal wear,” says Bob Bade, coordinator of student activities. “We have a laser photography set-up where students get their pictures taken with their awards.”
The Office of Student Activities hosts the campus-wide extravaganza, which is held in the gymnasium to accommodate crowds of up to 300 people. Students mingle with the other “nominees” as they check out decorative boards displayed by student organizations. Colorful balloons float over tables as the guests dine from the buffet and watch a slide-show presentation of memorable events from the past year.
Then, the moment everyone’s been waiting for. The coordinator of student activities makes some opening remarks and presents PHCC club advisors with gifts. Students take the stage to accept prestigious athletic and student- organizational awards including the coveted “Outstanding Student Leader Award.”
“Helping students succeed is why we’re here,” Bade says. “Students learn valuable skills in their extracurricular activities, and their achievements in those activities need to be recognized similar to their academic achievements.” –LD
Contact Bade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Intramural Football
Faculty and students from Pensacola Junior College comprise the 11-member close-knit team, whose accomplishments include two tournament wins. Their first big triumph was at the University of Florida's Swamp Bowl in October, where 31 teams from all over the Southeast competed. PJC student John Halman landed a spot on the all-tournament team while wide receiver and safety Kirk Slay was named Most Valuable Player during the tournament.
In November, Yahtzee earned their second title at the 25th Annual West Florida Regional Competition, held at the University of West Florida. To win the championship, Yahtzee beat 18 men's teams, defeating such rivals as the University of South Alabama, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of West Florida, Florida State University, and Eckerd College (a forfeit). Coach Doug Rogers called the win against South Alabama "a wake-up call." Down by two touchdowns in the first half, the team eventually came back and won in the second. "Nobody panicked," Rogers says, regarding the reaction as fairly characteristic of the team. At the end of the tournament, Kirk Slay was again hailed MVP, with center and clutch receiver Neal Alsop making the all-tournament team. Coach Rogers, also team quarterback, was selected for the all-tournament team. Yahtzee, tired but ever powerful, was undefeated at the end of two tournaments.
Claiming the Gold Cup from the UWF regional, they rode their winning streak to the national championships in New Orleans on Dec. 29. Ranked No. 2 in the nation and as the only team from Pensacola to win the Swamp Bowl, the team had high hopes to triumph at nationals. "We were winning games. We were building confidence—not overconfidence. But we knew how to win," Rogers says.
Although they lost to Georgia Southern University by a mere point, the team still considers the season a success. "We didn't walk off like losers. We felt like winners," Rogers says. Even though they didn't land a championship trophy, they did score the Sportsmanship Award at nationals. The award was solely the result of a long season of togetherness as a team, Rogers says. "We don't argue," he says. "We don't stand on the sidelines and complain." —LH
Contact Rogers at email@example.com.
Best Health Care
Students are busy people, and taking care of themselves can take last-priority status behind school, work, and personal time. But at Santa Fe Community College, it’s just as easy to get health care as it is to stop by the bookstore. Established in 2001, the Student Health Care Center is a collaboration between SFCC and the nearby University of Florida to bring quality health care to a community college setting. “The university provides the staff and the medical supplies and materials needed to run the center,” says Dug Jones, director of student activities. “We provide the facility, the office staff, and the patients.”
And they seem to have plenty of patients. “Sometimes, I see as many as 35 patients a day,” says Jane McGlothlin, registered nurse. Along with a part-time nurse practitioner, McGlothlin tends to the ills and wellness of the student population, dispensing everything from immunizations to annual gynecological exams. Meanwhile, health educator Kitty Christian takes her show on the road, visiting classrooms when faculty members request her help. Although the center can’t diagnose new problems, it can help monitor chronic conditions that would make it tough for a person to stay healthy and stay a student at the same time.
Jones says the center, which is funded by Student Government and by student-activity fees, is meant to be as student-friendly as possible. “Anytime class is in session, we’re in session,” he says. And plans for expansion continue as they receive feedback on what students need. “The more we’re able to be responsive, the more it’s grown.” –SRR
Best Alternative Sport
The first tournament was held in July, and 14 teams registered. Dan Rodkin, coordinator for the Center for Student Leadership and Activities, says that some of the SG members put the program on simply to have some fun over the summer.
With a huge turnout at the tournament, SG members realized that this childhood game definitely struck a chord with the student body. So, they decided to host another tournament during the fall semester. They were amazed by the outcome—32 teams registered and more than 350 people attended.
Many participants believe that the wide variety of players really made the event unique. Two of the teams consisted entirely of students in their 30’s and 40's. Another team was all high school dual-enrollment students, who had never played the game because it’s prohibited in most public schools. Even international students participated, although they had to learn the rules first. "The diversity of the players was amazing, and the program was more successful than anyone anticipated," Rodkin says.
The rules essentially mimic those outlined in the movie. Two teams of five line up on opposite sides of the gym. Facing five rubber balls, they charge toward the center of the gym and the madness begins. There's not much room for error in this game—it's either hit or miss. Players showed their skill, embodying the "five D's of dodgeball:" dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge.
Because the tournament turnout was so positive, they plan to have a third one in the spring. "It was nice to see a positive reaction from so many people to this Student Government program," Rodkin says. –GH
Contact Rodkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Career Resource Center
Some of the center's major events in 2004 included the University Quest, which usually attracts recruiters from more than 40 Southeastern universities and colleges to speak with SCC students about transfer opportunities. Also, the Counselor and University Representative Interaction educates counselors and advisors on current student issues and changes.
More importantly, the Career Fair gives students the chance to meet future employers. At the Career Fair, current SCC students can explore potential careers and showcase their skills to employers while businesses recruit prospective graduates. More than 100 vendors typically register for the annual event, says Christy King, CRC coordinator. Some companies even hire students on the spot, according to a job referral survey.
In 2004, students with disabilities also met with a recruiter for possible jobs and internships with government and private companies at the annual Work Force Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. Approximately 1,300 students have been interviewed every year since 2003. The SCC Career Resource Center is the only interview site in central Florida that's part of the program.
Students are getting help landing jobs and internships, thanks to their CRC. They also attend resume critiques, learn about different careers through job search seminars, research their careers in the Career Development Library, engage in mock interviews, get tips on interview appearance and delivery, and check job listings on the CRC Web site.
In a survey of the CRC's job referral service, many students express gratitude for the career guidance. "The services of the Career Resource Center are very helpful and give hope to students in finding a better job,” says one student. "We all can use the help," says another. "It's tough out there.” —LH
Contact King at email@example.com.
Best Black History Celebration
Every year, students at SJRCC celebrate Black History Month with a slew of events. This year, more than 185 students, faculty members, and staff attended the six events that took place throughout February. “The celebration brings awareness to the culture of, and contributions made by, black Americans in our present-day society, as well as in our history,” says Ruth Benjamin, BSU faculty advisor.
Pork stew, turkey wings, and sweet potato pies were among the dishes offered to students as a part of the annual “Soul Food Fest,” which was added to the celebration three years ago. For those craving a new look, BSU students organized a hair-braiding day. Braids, cornrows, and twists were among the hairstyles offered for prices between $1 and $10. The extravaganza also featured a “Celebration of Black Gospel Music,” where students and the community worked together to showcase their talents.
“College Day” is another popular event of this celebration. “‘College Day’ is an activity we started six years ago as our kickoff to the Black History Month celebration,” Benjamin says. “We choose a church in the community to attend, and our students participate in the program with musical renditions, original poetry, and other talents.”
Last February, BSU added online trivia to the celebration, which helped educate students while having fun. The prize? A gift certificate to a local bookstore and a BSU T-shirt for the first student to answer a question about a little-known black history fact.
“What makes the celebration of Black History Month unique is the coming together of college and community,” Benjamin says.—MAC
Contact Benjamin firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project started in the fall of 2003, when the Hospice of North Central Florida in Gainesville approached FloArts about developing a partnership to donate artwork to the new hospice in Palatka. Knowing the importance of this project for the students and the community, Dr. Gary Piazza, the dean of FloArts, agreed to the partnership and turned to the Rotary Club of Palatka for monetary aid. "I went to the Rotary board of directors, and they very kindly gave us money to cover all of the expenses," Piazza says. The RCP donated $1,200 that helped the students, art faculty, and Piazza create 17 therapeutic pieces of artwork.
Among the paintings, photographs, and digital images, hospice patients admire "Violin with Pointe Shoes," a painting of a violin and a pair of pink pointe shoes propped up by a lime-green cushion. A sky-blue coverlet loosely drapes over a chair where all the objects rest, and thin sections of a wine-colored wall just peak out on either side.
Piazza and the art faculty hand-picked the 12 students who participated in the project. "We chose students that we knew that their artistic level and their understanding of a work would be therapeutic," Piazza says. "It needed to be very calm, and we needed students who painted in those styles."
The artwork was a gift—to the hospice patients and to the students. On one hand, the 17 pieces give beauty to the hospice, consoling patients and their family and giving them some peace, Piazza says. On the other hand, "The students had an opportunity to give back to their community and to realize how fortunate they are to have this incredible gift to draw and paint—a gift that they can share with people in their final days of their life," he says.—MAC
Contact Piazza at 386-312-4300.
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