RLC Hosts Eleventh Annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships

 INA, Ill. (October 25, 2022) — The future of law enforcement, families, and supporters gathered at the Rend Lake College Event Center last night for the eleventh annual Rend Lake College Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships Banquet.

Each year the fundraiser helps support students interested in criminal justice careers. The seven students who were selected to receive the scholarship this year include; Chloe Braden (McLeansboro), Jadyn Cole (Mt. Vernon), Maci Hoppers (Benton), Jarret Lewis (Wayne City), Ashton Middendorf (McLeansboro), Zavion Duncan (Dix), and Will Bowers (McLeansboro).

Career opportunities in criminal justice can be categorized into five major fields: law enforcement, courts, corrections, forensic science, and private security. In these areas, a multitude of challenging occupations provides for a wide range of personal and career satisfaction. Criminal justice professionals perform a valuable and essential service for society. The students awarded these scholarships aim to serve our community in one of these fields. 

group-1(L-R) Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson, Rend Lake College Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Ronald Meek, scholarship recipients Jarret Lewis (Wayne City), Maci Hoppers (Benton), Jadyn Cole (Mt. Vernon),  Ashton Middendorf (McLeansboro), Zavion Duncan (Dix), Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard, Mt. Vernon Police Chief Trent Page, and Rend Lake College Dean of Applied Science and Technology Dr. Gabriele Farner. (Click for a printable image.)

The event began with RLC's Criminal Justice Associate Professor, Ronald Meek, welcoming all of the supporters. Meek then recognized Illinois Supreme Court Justice David Overstreet for attending and Darrel and Heston Mays for their support from American Family Insurance. Meek also welcomed Scott Peeples, an RLC adjunct professor, and thanked him for his contribution to the program. 

"I want to thank the Jefferson County Crime Stoppers, "said Meek. "They are first-time donors to our program, and we are thankful for their support."

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Rend Lake College Criminal Justice Associate Professor Ronald Meek speaks at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships. (Click for a printable image.)

Meek then invited scholarship recipient Jadyn Cole, of Mt. Vernon, to the stage to share her journey so far in the criminal justice program. 

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak with you all tonight," said Cole. "I am not only enjoying my classes, but I am confident I am receiving the best instruction. Being at Rend Lake College has been beneficial in so many ways. Attending a community college has helped me stay employed and allowed my employer to work with my school schedule. I have a fast commute. Having my resources close and having all criminal justice classes in one building helps me not to stress about where my next class is. Professor Meek is not only a phenomenal instructor but a great role model, friend, person, and mentor."

jadyn-cole-speech
Rend Lake College Criminal Justice student and scholarship recipient Jadyn Cole (Mt. Vernon) speaks at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships.
(Click for a printable image.)

Cole said she enjoyed that Rend Lake College is a real experience with realistic goals.

"To summarize," Cole said. "I have had the best experience attending Rend Lake College. Getting to be a part of the criminal justice side of the college has been beneficial to my future. I am immensely grateful to speak to you all today, and for the scholarship I received."

Meek then welcomed scholarship recipient Maci Hoppers, of Benton, to the stage.

maci-hoppers-speech
Rend Lake College Criminal Justice student and scholarship recipient Maci Hoppers (Benton) speaks at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships. 
(Click for a printable image.)

"This is my first year at Rend Lake College," said Hoppers. "I want to thank Ron, who has been an excellent professor. I want to thank my family, who have been my biggest support. I lost my mom at a young age and allowing me to have this scholarship helps my family and me as I continue my education here at Rend Lake College. Thank you, everyone."

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Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson shares gratitude for students and supporters at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships.
(Click for a printable image.)

"Credit for this goes to Ron," said Wilkerson. "He thought of this scholarship and brought this group together 11 years ago. His dedication to the students, along with your commitment to the students, is heavily appreciated. Students, we see you out in the community, and we're proud of how you act, conduct yourselves, and carry yourselves. That citizenship is something that you can't measure by grades or always see in the classroom. We are proud of this department and the students it has produced, and that is a credit to Mr. Meek, to these students, and those who back this program."

"The Rend Lake College Foundation has been a part of organizing this scholarship from the beginning," said Meek as he welcomed Amy Newell, Rend Lake College Foundation's Assistant Director of Development, to the stage.

amy-newell-speechRend Lake College Foundation Assistant Director of Development Amy Newell thanks supporters at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships. 
(Click for a printable image.)

"Working at the college in different roles before the Foundation has truly helped me understand our mission of commitment to each student's education and success," said Newell. "The Foundation's mission is to provide scholarships to students and work with generous donors to ensure we can provide these scholarships for years to come. Our hope is that students will go on into our communities and make them a better place for us all to live. Thank you for your investment in these students. Your investment in them is also an investment in the communities they will serve and protect in the future."

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Jefferson County Sherrif Jeff Bullard recognizes Rend Lakes College's Criminal Justice Program at the eleventh Annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships.
(Click for a printable image.)

"The word I will pass on to students," said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard. "You take this opportunity to learn about criminal justice at Rend Lake College to prepare you for the academy, whether corrections or policing, and understand that it is a constantly evolving career."

Bullard then commented that in addition to the laws constantly changing, the criminal element is also doing so. He then shared an example of how individuals can adapt to policing and use it for their nefarious advantage. He reiterated that ongoing education is the best way to stay safe from these progressions and keep others safe.

"You have, through this educational process, the ability to be flexible and to learn," said Sheriff Bullard. "Learn to perfect your trade and craft because the career path will continue to change, and you must be prepared for that. Lastly, but most importantly, I commend you for your courage. These are challenging times in the criminal justice field, and you are showing honor and courage."

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Mt. Vernon Police Chief Trent Page shares advice with Rend Lake College criminal justice students at the eleventh annual Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships.
(Click for a printable image.)

"I graduated here in 1993," said Mt. Vernon Police Chief Trent Page. "Seeing how this college has evolved over the years has been amazing. Ron, especially, has done an outstanding job of taking this training from textbooks, studying, and taking tests to a hands-on program where you are doing scenario-based training. They are bringing individuals from the field to prepare these students for the job ahead. We are happy to continue to support the criminal justice program at Rend Lake College because we know it offers good training."

Chief Page explained that it was essential to continue training even after college to meet the needs of the ever-changing criminal justice field. "Even after 25 years, I still attend monthly training to ensure I am ready for things that may come my way," said Chief Page.

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(L-R) Rend Lake College Criminal Justice Associate Professor Ronald Meek, with scholarship recipients Jarret Lewis (Wayne City), Maci Hoppers (Benton), Jadyn Cole (Mt. Vernon),  Ashton Middendorf (McLeansboro), and Zavion Duncan (Dix). Not Pictured: Scholarship recipients Chloe Braden (McLeansboro) and Will Bowers (McLeansboro).
(Click for a printable image.)
crowdThe future of law enforcement, families, and supporters gathered at the Rend Lake College Event Center last night for the eleventh annual Rend Lake College Criminal Justice Roundup for Scholarships Banquet. (Click for a printable image.)

The program received $2,300 in donations from the event, supporting at least four more scholarships in the coming years.

RLC currently offers a Criminal Justice Associate in Arts Degree, a Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science Degree, Police and Corrections Occupational Certificate, and a Private Protection Occupational Certificate. 

To learn more about Rend Lake College's Criminal Justice programs,
call professor Ronald Meek at 618-437-5321 Ext. 1239 or email [email protected]

YOUR JOURNEY STARTS HERE


Dean of Applied Science & Technology
Phone Extension: 1292
Building: Advanced Technology Center
Office: 138
M.S. & B.S., Southern Illinois University | Ph.D.,  Missouri Baptist University
Criminal Justice Associate Professor
Phone Extension: 1239
Building: Advanced Technology Center
Office: 143
  FBI National Academy, Quantico, Va. | Police Training Institute, University of Illinois | B.S., Greenville College | A.A.S., Lake Land College |
Executive Director - Administrative Services
Phone Extension: 1243
Building: Administration
Office: 126
A.A. & A.S., John A. Logan College
RLC Foundation Assistant Director of Development
Phone Extension: 1214
Building: Student Center
Office: 210
B.A. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rend Lake College Foundation Development Coordinator
Phone Extension: 1324
Building: Student Center
Office: 202
B.S. McKendree University
RLC Foundation Major Gift Officer
Phone Extension: 1213
Building: Student Center
Office: 202
BA, Eastern Illinois University

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