Lake-Sumter State College Recognizes Student Achievements at 2023 Academic and Student Life Awards

Lake-Sumter State College recently hosted the 2023 Academic and Student Life Awards, an evening dedicated to celebrating the remarkable achievements of its students. Karen Hogans, Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed guests and highlighted the invaluable contributions made by the students to the college’s community.  

“Our students are the heart and soul of this institution, and we are so proud of the contributions and lasting impact they have on Lake-Sumter State College,” said Hogans. 

The event recognized and honored students who demonstrated exceptional commitment, resilience, and creativity in pursuing their educational goals, both inside and outside the classroom. Students were celebrated for their achievements in areas such as academic excellence, leadership, athletics, and community service. The students were praised as role models for their peers and future Lakehawks. 

President Heather Bigard shared some words of encouragement to the students as the Spring 2023 semester approached its final weeks.  

“Tonight is not simply the end of the period of study, although no doubt a welcome relief, it marks the beginning of a new chapter in your lives, full of exciting opportunities through which your tomorrows are better than your yesterdays,” she shared. 

The Academic Excellence Awards are open to any currently enrolled student who is in good standing, has completed a minimum of 12 credit hours, and has a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Faculty nominate students who demonstrate superior ability to grasp the skills and knowledge in a particular subject area. Students who received these awards have demonstrated excellence in their specific discipline.  

Academic Excellence Award winners included: 

  • Lisa Casavant Welch (BAS Strategic Leadership) 
  • Chancellor Cavender (Biology) 
  • Marissa Guidet (Biology) 
  • Jessica Webb (Computer Information Systems) 
  • James Stickley (Criminal Justice) 
  • Logan Parlato (English) 
  • Joshua Martinez (Honors Program) 
  • Weston Roesel (Honors Program) 
  • Mia Magda (Humanities/American Cinema) 
  • Avery Vincent (Theatre) 
  • Paige Osusu-Ofori (Lower-Level Mathematics) 
  • Gabriel Spencer (Upper-Level Mathematics) 
  • Bradlee Wilson (LPN to RN Bridge) 
  • Kate Lee (Physics) 
  • Valoria Rutzebeck (RN-BSN Program) 
  • MacKenzie Householder (Social & Behavioral Sciences) 
  • Brian McKinley (Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Once the Academic Excellence Awards portion concluded, the evening progressed to the presentation of the Student Life Awards. Lake-Sumter State College understands the importance of student life experiences and how they shape the overall development and growth of students. Dr. Joseph Mews, VP of Enrollment & Student Affairs recognized the importance of these experiences in helping students explore their interests, develop new skills, and build relationships with their peers, faculty, and staff. 

“Participating in student life activities provides students with the opportunity to develop crucial life skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, time management, and problem-solving. These skills are essential for success, both in college and beyond, as they prepare students for the challenges of the workplace,” shared Dr. Mews. 

Dr. Mews acknowledged the pivotal role played by club advisors in guiding and mentoring students through their student life experiences. These advisors serve as a vital support system and help students achieve their goals, develop their skills, and become successful members of the Lake-Sumter State College community. 

Student Life Award winners included: 

  • Nafisah Azar, Jordan Brewster, Brooklyn Haigh, Tatiana Njoroge, and Jossette White (The Angler) 
  • Jordan Ackerman, Anthony Griffith, and Nathan Tinder (Baseball) 
  • Alyssa Guarino (Beach Volleyball) 
  • Raquel “Rocky” Camuglia and Tatum McGrath (Softball) 
  • Cecilia Calton (Volleyball) 
  • Kreighton Steinke (Female Athlete of the Year) 
  • Colton Berquist (Male Athlete of the Year) 
  • Jordan Ackerman, Makenzi Heaton, Jack Musgrave, and Nathan Tinder (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) 
  • Serigo Herboso (Honors Club) 
  • Shallan Burke, Sergio Herboso, Joshua Martinez, Anabelis Rubio, and Isabella Wood (Lakehawks Lead) 
  • Esperanza Vazquez (Let’s Roll) 
  • Conel Crockton III and Vanessa Von Waldner (National Society of Leadership and Success) 
  • Brianna Rodriguez (The Odyssey) 
  • Angela Marchione (Phi Theta Kappa) 
  • Athena Ackerman, Cassandra Gordan, and Kieran Wentworth (PRISM Club) 
  • Atticus Newby and Paul Farrell (Leesburg SGA) 
  • Athena Ackerman, Angelica Ceron, Virginia DeFlaviis, Gabriel Gato Delgado, Cassandra Gordon, and Joshua Tulchinsky (South Lake SGA)

The final award of the evening was The Laura Hasty Award for student achievement through perseverance. Laura Hasty was a 2007 graduate of the college and one of the first recipients of this award. The award was renamed in her honor after her untimely passing in 2009. This year’s award recipient was Ryan Monaghan. Ryan was nominated for this award by head baseball coach, Rich Billings, who share a little of Ryan’s story of perseverance.  

“Ryan is an example to his teammates of what it means to be selfless and impactful because not only is he one of our best players, but he is also one of our best human beings,” said Billings.  

The 2023 Academic and Student Life Awards at Lake-Sumter State College was a wonderful celebration of the outstanding achievements of its students. It showcased the exceptional talent, hard work, and dedication of the Lakehawks, making it clear that they are the heart and soul of the institution.