At STLCC-Wildwood Awards Dinner, Students Say It Best
The semester came to a close on Friday evening with a celebratory dinner to acknowledge the achievements of our outstanding students. Over 225 students and their families came to the Wildwood Hotel in Wildwood’s town center for the dinner. President Pam McIntyre welcomed everyone and began the evening by acknowledging that the students being honored at this year’s dinner have impacted the campus in a very special way. She quoted several lines from the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked. Before dinner was served, the audience was invited to watch a slideshow that recapped the year’s events.
After dinner, Donna Babbitt, chair of Business Administration and Social Sciences and winner of the MCCA Governor’s award for excellence in teaching, addressed the students and their families and reminded them that to succeed, everyone must first fail.
Jamison Rybak, one of the campus’ most notable students, then addressed the gathering. He spoke about the epiphany he had on his first day of coming to STLCC-Wildwood. “I realized that no one in this building knew who I was. I realized that there were no preconceived notions of what kind of behavior was expected of me. I wasn’t a winner, I wasn’t a loser, I wasn’t a class clown, I wasn’t a nerd.” He realized that he had an opportunity to reinvent himself and be who he wanted to be, his “ideal self.” He explained how he made choices that day. “I chose to be an active member of society so I could see how my actions impacted those around me. I decided to follow the golden rule to the best that I could so I could create a circle of trust and respect. I decided I would rather learn an As worth of education rather than earn an As worth of points so I could take that knowledge with me wherever, irrespective of what my transcript looks like. I chose to see the good in everything I do so I could find value in my life every day. I decided to make each place better than I found it so I could leave a mark worth leaving. And last but most importantly, I chose to serve others so I could say at the end of the day, ‘at least I helped somebody’.” He then talked about his realization that everyone has the opportunity to make those kinds of choices. He congratulated the other students about the choices they made to help them overcome their own obstacles, pursue their dreams and aspirations and share an evening together that celebrated their success.
Awards were then presented to club leaders, student ambassadors, scholarship winners, winners of literary, art, and business competitions, students who served in leadership positions on regional boards, and Phi Theta Kappa members.
Faculty members in the academic areas of interdisciplinary studies, English, mathematics, communications, education, business, music, art, history/political science and psychology presented students with excellence awards. Each faculty members spoke with sincerity about the accomplishments of the students to whom they presented the awards.
President McIntyre ended the awards presentation by naming the recipient of the President’s Leadership Award, marking the first time that the award has been given since the opening of the campus in 2007. Patrick Eberle was chosen for his involvement in student government, campus clubs, student blog, student ambassador program, his academic achievements and the many positive ways he has influenced the campus community.
In Eberle’s closing remarks, he said that the secret to his success was the friendships that he made at St. Louis Community College. “It’s those people who have really built me up and made me who I am.” He included faculty, staff members and administration in his definition of “friend.” For Eberle, “friends help you remember who you are. Friends learn from each other. Friends are here to help you, take care of you, and have fun with you. Friends encourage you. These friendships that we’ve made make us who we are. They help us face our own fears. And I want to thank you for everything you’ve done and for being my friend.” He called everyone to, continue to be positive, optimistic and help everybody else as much as they can.
The evening was a true celebration of the remarkable students at STLCC-Wildwood. Everyone who attended left with a sense of pride in both the individual accomplishments of the students and the collective accomplishments of the campus.