Students Honored Statewide for Academic Excellence and Exemplary Leadership


Over 90 honorees received personalized award package with the help of Credit Union of Colorado.

 April 14, 2021 (Denver, CO) – Today, more than 90 students from across the Colorado Community College System’s (CCCS) 13 colleges and two students from Aims Community College were honored for academic accomplishments, exemplary leadership, and commitment to inclusive excellence in CCCS’s Virtual 2021 Student Excellence Awards Ceremony.

Award categories included:

  • The Phi Theta Kappa All-Colorado Academic Team Award: Recognizes the academic accomplishments of high-achieving student members of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.
  • The Rising Star Award: Sponsored by the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC), recognizes students who have increased the level and quality of student engagement on their college campus.
  • The Inclusive Excellence Champions Award: Also sponsored by SSAC, recognizes students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on their college campus.

Honorees received personalized award packages which contained a medallion, certificate, and backpack made possible through sponsorship from the Credit Union of Colorado, and support from SSAC student leaders.

“The Student Excellence Awards is held to recognize and honor our talented students who have made significant contributions to their college and community,” said Dr. Ryan Ross, CCCS Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Equity, and Inclusion. “These brilliant students exhibit qualities that will help them in achieving their long term goals and will also inspire others to follow their path to success.”

Honorees reflect diverse backgrounds and experiences but share incredible perseverance, high academic achievement, and a strong passion for helping others. Student community service over the past year included a wide range of activities that showcased individual hobbies and passions. Some served their local church or performed in their town’s music ensemble, while others provided substitute teaching or tutoring, or took on student government roles at their college.

Through their respective campus and community engagement, students found purpose in supporting and advocating for others, leading many to pursue careers that align with helping individuals and communities thrive, such as health care, social services, criminal justice, and education.

Click here to view CCCS’s 2021 Virtual Student Excellence Awards presentation.
Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.
- Aristotle

“Aristotle once said, ‘Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny,” said Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. “The students we celebrate today truly embody the CCCS vision for success in action. We are incredibly proud of their accomplishments and contributions, and know they will continue to thrive and positively impact their communities as they move on in their academic and career journeys.”

2021 CCCS Student Excellence Award honorees by college:

Arapahoe Community College

  • Joseph Rhodes
  • Jade Wilmer
  • Brandon Martinez
  • Ally Poland
  • Dayriana Sanders

Community College of Aurora

  • Celia Moneboulou
  • Jennifer Martinez Gomez
  • Ella Marshall
  • Yiyee Ooi
  • Eneida Solis
  • Gabriel Sanders

Community College of Denver

  • Andrew Moore
  • Savanna Poirier
  • Daysi Magana
  • Esther Pompee
  • Lorraine Seals-Williams

Colorado Northwestern Community College

  • Nathan Allred
  • Deana Armstrong
  • Lizabeth Schmedeke
  • Raeanna Scott
  • Mahad Haji
  • Preslee Bunch

Front Range Community College

  • Kelila Fitch-Cook
  • Leo Condon
  • Ella Baca
  • Chiraz Dor
  • Sara Maginot
  • Brain Goedde
  • Nevaeh Sirio
  • Astrid Villalobos
  • Lan Nguyen
  • Lyndon Saltz
  • Laci Knapp
  • Donald Strange
  • Herc Heurkens
  • Katie Rodriguez
  • Alyson Young
  • Rhiana Bilderaya
  • Zoe McNaught
  • Rachel Emory

Lamar Community College

  • Damon Elarton
  • Alisse Hall
  • Kendal Fletcher
  • Micah Middleton
  • Dakota Cook
  • Leah Rivera
  • Deon Williams

Morgan Community College

  • Reine Dayouh
  • Ashley Wilkins
  • Bruce Dietz
  • Bronwyn Kalcevic
  • Chase Bennett
  • Yadira Garcilazo
  • Anna Ruiz

Northeastern Junior College

  • Ashlee Napowsa
  • Kirsten Wood
  • Ethan Richmond
  • Sydney Crites
  • Ananisia Gallegos

Otero Junior College

  • Sara Noll
  • Johnny Orital
  • Gabriella Martinez Di Sabatino

Pueblo Community College

  • Patricia Almestica-Huelst
  • Kristy Rhodes
  • Frank Martellaro
  • Reanna Smith
  • LeRoy Brown
  • Nathan Fowler
  • Lisa Ward

Pikes Peak Community College

  • Daniel Rode
  • Daryna Yakovleva
  • Kristeen Murillo
  • Kalea Redabaugh
  • James Snyder
  • Kayla Nocon
  • Fran Velasquez

Red Rocks Community College

  • Alena Artemenko
  • Traci Thompson
  • Chelsea Sandoval
  • Tristan Strayer
  • Lisa Venette

Trinidad State Junior College

  • Sara Loggin
  • Cynthia Montez
  • Anna Novak-Palomar
  • Jamielynn Vallejos
  • Itzel Molina-Lopez
  • Natalia Willhelm-Heguaburu

Aims Community College

  • Conner Rowe
  • Sara Sharpe


About the Colorado Community College System 
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education and workforce development, delivering thousands of programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 38 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to high quality, affordable higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college

About the Credit Union of Colorado
The Credit Union of Colorado has more than 85 years of experience serving members throughout Colorado. The Credit Union of Colorado supports local communities, creates Colorado jobs, and is an important source of financial stability in the state economy. Today, more than 140,000 people, from all walks of life, enjoy the benefits of membership in the credit union that is worth over $2 billion in assets.

About the State Student Advisory Council
The State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) is comprised of students elected by each of the established student governments from across the Colorado Community College System. SSAC is charged with advising the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education on matters of interest and concern to all CCCS students. SSAC annually partners with CCCS to host and sponsor a student award and recognition event.

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