2018 Rising Star honorees large group photo

Pictured Above: The 2018 Rising Star honorees with all 13 CCCS college presidents and System president, Dr. McCallin.

April 20, 2018 (Denver, CO) – The annual Rising Star ceremony celebrated 27 students and two staff from across the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) for their contributions to the overall success of their colleges and communities. The event took place on April 10 at Arapahoe Community College’s Littleton Campus (ACC) and was made possible through the sponsorship of the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (Colorado PERA).

The 2018 Rising Star cohort consisted of two students from 12 CCCS colleges, and three students from Front Range Community College. From mentoring children and young adults to spending countless hours as volunteers for various campus and community organizations, this dynamic group has demonstrated being reliable, professional, and having deep-rooted passion for helping others. Many of the awardees expressed aspirations to continue their advocacy work and interests in pursuing careers that will help heal and empower communities in fields such as health care, social services, criminal justice, and education.

We have been a proud sponsor of this event for several years and look forward to celebrating the community college’s top students who exemplify the best in service. We commend their focus on supporting others and look forward to the great work they will accomplish in the future.

– Tara May, Colorado PERA Chief Communications Officer

Dr. Patty Erjavec and System president, Dr. McCallin

Dr. Patty Erjavec and System president, Dr. McCallin

Dr. Patty Erjavec, Pueblo Community College (PCC) president, was honored as President of the Year for her commitment to student success and leadership development.

Nominators boasted Dr. Erjavec as an avid supporter and participant in many campus activities.

Dr. Erjavec is a champion for our students. From day one, she personally welcomes each student that comes through new student orientation and fosters a sense of community that allows them to thrive. We are fortunate to have her at PCC.

– Dr. Nancy McCallin, CCCS President

The Advocate of the Year award was presented to Imane Benjelloun, Community College of Denver’s Director of Trio Student Support Services, for her work in helping first-generation, low-income, and disabled students succeed in college. Benjelloun is hailed by many at her college a champion who strives to provide her students with opportunities to overcome struggles and excel above and beyond expectations in their educational path.

I am honored to be recognized as Advocate of the Year. Supporting and encouraging my students to strive for everything they are capable of achieving energizes me every day.

– Imane Benjelloun

The event concluded with recognizing the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) members for their dedicated year-long commitment to representing their institution.

SSAC member photo

SSAC member photo with Dr. Landon Pirius, Stacie Amaya, and Dr. McCallin.

2018 Rising Star Honorees

Arapahoe Community College

Camila Monroe and Rachel Zinna


Colorado Northwestern Community College

Preslee Bunch and Sara Petree


Community College of Aurora

Henry Reyes and Christina Norman


Community College of Denver

Daniela Grandados and Jaime Treadwell


Front Range Community College

Rae Grandy, Sydney True, and Nadine Nehme


Lamar Community College

Michelle Batista and Celia Tamayo


Morgan Community College

Tayler Boppre and Aubrey Wells


Northeastern Junior College

Azalya Gaytan and Trenton Worden


Otero Junior College

Katy Jones and Mariah Landgren


Pikes Peak Community College

Johnna Cravener and Vicki Pemberton


Pueblo Community College

Cathy Allen and William Quintana


Red Rocks Community College

Donny Herrera and Sean Ross


Trinidad State Junior College

Job Alexander and Jessica Suazo