Rend Lake College students Hanna Shay and Alicia Hutchings are among the best of the best this year after being tapped for two spots on the All-Illinois USA Academic Team.
According to Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Cheri Rushing, these two PTK members were selected by the college administration to represent Rend Lake College. PTK is an honor society for two-year colleges.
At the state level, Hutchings and Shay will be judged on the basis of academic achievement, volunteer work, campus activities, honors and awards. Nominees also were asked to submit a short essay explaining why they chose to start their higher educations at community colleges and to describe their most significant academic endeavors thus far in their college lives.
Shay (McLeansboro) said, "It’s an honor because only two of us were selected out of the entire college." The chemistry major said she plans to transfer to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and hopes to work with the Illinois State Police as a forensic chemist after graduation.
Hutchings (Pinckneyville) also plans to transfer to SIU-C after Rend Lake College and pursue her elementary education major. She said she hopes to become a kindergarten teacher in the area after completing her education.
"I just feel honored because I try very hard to excel in my academics," said Hutchings.
Each year, each community college is invited to nominate two outstanding students to compete for the All-USA Academic Team. The All-USA Academic Team for Community Colleges competition is sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the American Association of Community Colleges and USA TODAY.
Because Hutchings and Shay were nominated to the All-USA Academic Team, they were automatically named to the All-Illinois Academic Team. Independent judges review the applications and select 20-member First, Second, and Third Teams.
Ranking on the All-State team is determined by the student’s score in the national competition. All-State Team members receive special recognition, including medallions and certificates and oftentimes stipends and scholarships.