ICCTA Pacesetter Award
Student, Rush Medical College
Oakton Community College (1997)
Caplinger-Gillespie explains, "The decision to return to school was
an easy one to make. I was just informed by my then-husband that
he was going to pursue a divorce. . . . I knew that my earning
potential was not sufficient to support my toddler and myself.
School was the only logical choice." She has since gone on to
graduate with honors from Oakton and Elmhurst College and
anticipates her medical degree in 2004.
Lynette M. Gage
Instructional aide, Marie Schaefer Middle School
Aerobics instructor, O'Fallon YMCA
Southwestern Illinois College (1999)
2001 award recipient -- click here to read more
At the age of 10, Gage was thrown from a horse and suffered a
brain injury that left her in a coma for three months. Having to
relearn to walk, swallow and speak, she has become a national
voice for people with disabilities. Last year she was named one of
the Illinois Jaycees' Ten Outstanding Young People. "My
experience at Southwestern helped provide a sense of community
and partnership to me," says Gage.
Accountant, Blanchfield Doherty Peterson
Moraine Valley Community College (1999)
Griffin-Welch served as Moraine Valley's student trustee from
1998 to 1999. After transferring to St. Xavier University, she
earned her bachelor's degree in accounting in less than a year û
despite new professional standards that forced her to take 60 credit
hours in three semesters. "I know that the paths and journeys that
have been made available to me through the community college
will always give me a rich and fulfilling life," she says.
Community policing officer, Centralia Police Department
Kaskaskia College (1997)
"I was an average student in high school with questionable future
plans," admits Ingersoll. "It was not until I found myself in a law
enforcement career that I felt a desire to expand my education . . . .
Today, I am achieving satisfaction in my personal life and career
due to my desire to learn more." Ingersoll received the Head Start
Volunteer Award in 2000 and was chosen Officer of the Year by
his police department in January.
Assistant to the director, Youth Outreach Program / Special projects manager
Chicago Board of Education
Malcolm X College (1998)
A product of Chicago's Abla housing project, Johnson attended a
major university for two years on an athletic scholarship before
enrolling at Malcolm X as an underprepared learner. "Malcolm X
was unique in its resolve to help me," he recalls. "They only asked
me for my time, attention and a genuine effort. Malcolm X College
did everything they said they would do." Since graduating, he has
already received five awards for community service.
Communications student, Western Illinois University
Spoon River College (1999)
Markland came to Spoon River in 1997 after an occupational
injury left her partially disabled and unable to work in her chosen
fields of cosmetology and nursing. Her new career goals include a
master's degree and a teaching position at a community college.
"Hopefully I will positively impact other lives the way mine has
been impacted through my community college experience,"
Poet / Graduate student, Southern Illinois University
Rend Lake College (1998)
Ignoring a high school counselor's advice to attend a trade school,
Nelson has refused to allow cerebral palsy to interfere with his
writing or his teaching duties at Southern. He recently published a
book of poetry that includes work inspired by another Illinois
community college graduate, Gwendolyn Brooks. "The quality of
education I received at Rend Lake provided the doorway for
success," Nelson says.
Patrol officer, Rockford Police Department
Elgin Community College (1997)
Dismissed from high school for truancy, Santiago has come full
circle. After graduating from Elgin, he has passed the University of
Illinois' police institute and is training for his department's canine
unit. This fall he will return to school to finish his bachelor's
degree in accounting and plans to pursue his master's degree as
well. "Elgin instilled the fundamentals that allow me to perform in
my current career," Santiago says.
Terri M. Stearns
Sign language interpreter, First Coast Technical Institute /
University of North Florida
John A. Logan College (2000)
A GED graduate, Stearns enrolled at Logan after her daughter
asked to see her grades and diploma from high school. Now a
proud product of Logan's acclaimed interpreter preparation
program, she provides interpreter services for such varied clients as
the Jacksonville Jaguars football team and the United States Rugby
League. "All of this I owe to John A. Logan and the teachers there
for giving me the education that I was lacking to have a great life,"
Associate developer, Applied Systems
Prairie State College (1998)
Updike came to Prairie State as an international student from Lima,
Peru. Initially her English was weak and she had to take basic
education courses. Four years later, she has a master's degree in
computer science and a successful career in programming. Updike
and her husband (whom she met at PSC) recently bought their first
house, and she is in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen.
"Prairie State helped me realize my potential," she says.
Partner / president, Sault & Pepper & Co.
College of Lake County (1999)
While attending CLC, Zink worked full-time in the catering
business, rising from wait staff to general manager at Sault &
Pepper. "Although the fact of studying and working full-time
seems like a blur to me now, the fact that I could attend classes
without leaving my community allowed me to tend to my proudest
accomplishment: successfully raising my three children," she says.
Upon graduation, Zink purchased the high-profile catering
company from her former employer and was elected president by
her four partners.
The statewide recipient of the 2001 Pacesetter Award will be announced at
ICCTA's annual banquet on Friday, June 15, at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
For additional information, please contact
Kim Villanueva at 217-528-2858, ext. 1.
Illinois Community College Trustees Association|
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
| Home | News
| Events | Links |