INA – Renee Ryterski stepped down as Rend Lake College student trustee at the RLC Board’s April meeting to make way for Luke Thomas of Springerton.
Thomas, 19, is the son of Jeff and Julie Thomas and is a 2007 graduate of Hamilton County Senior High School. He currently holds a 3.897 GPA in his second semester as a full-time RLC student and recipient of a scholarship to study in the RLC ag production program. Thomas said he chose to run for student trustee on the encouragement of his agriculture teacher, Terry Wilkerson.
“He said it will be a good learning experience for me,” Thomas explained.
Ryterski is a 19-year-old education major and 4.0 student at RLC. The daughter of Bob and Laura Ryterski of DuBois is a member of the National Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa and of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is a member of the Lady Warriors golf team and will transfer to McKendree University in the fall on an athletic/academic scholarship. She is going to study secondary education mathematics with the goal of one day becoming a high school math teacher.
“I have honestly gained so much knowledge from this experience that I can greatly build on,” Ryterski said of her time as RLC Student Trustee. “I had no clue going into this position last April what it was going to consist of. But, knowing what I do know now, I would definitely run again and I encourage others to do the same if they have the opportunity.”
She said her advice to Thomas is to be sure he voices his opinion and gets involved. According to Ryterski, she had great rapport with many of the Board’s members and she feels they listened to her opinion on issues. The RLC Student Trustee sits on the Board and has an advisory vote in action taken by the Board. The student trustee also participates in discussion of matters which require the Board to enter into executive session.
“They definitely valued my opinion when it came to topics,” she said. “They knew I was here on campus everyday, unlike them, so they wanted to know what students and teachers thought. All the board members want to hear what you have to say. So, speak up and don’t be shy.”
Ryterski also advised him to attend the Community College Trustees National Convention if he can.
“I was not able to go to California this past September to the national convention because I had golf, but I would have loved to have went,” she said.
Solid time-management skills are a must for the individual who represents the RLC student body. Ryterski said there were times when her schedule was overwhelming, but she was committed to the position.
Thomas is no stranger to a busy schedule. The agriculture production and management major participated in Future Farmers of America, 4-H, the Auto Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Mu Alpha Theta and received high academic honors all four years in high school – all while working on the family farm and playing on the football, basketball and track and field teams at HCSHS.
“I hope to represent the student body well,” he said. “I think there will be good communication between the Board of Trustees and the student body.”
Thomas was chosen by his fellow RLC students in a landslide victory, winning 48 percent of the voters who came out in the four-candidate race.
“I’m honored that I was elected and I am looking forward to the upcoming year,” he said.
Ryterski said her memories will include attending meetings and special dinners, and getting to know the Board and college officials.
“It’s always a nice feeling when one of them comes up to me and says “hello” and starts a conversation,” she said.
“I hope you consider this a worthwhile experience,” RLC President Mark S. Kern said to her at her final board meeting as student trustee. “We wish you the very best and while you are over there [at McKendree], tell them how wonderful Rend Lake College is.”
“This has been a really good experience,” she replied. “I am glad I did it.”
“We have had some excellent trustees and Renee has been one of them,” Board Chairman Bill Simpson said.