INA, Ill. – The Rend Lake College Board of Trustees welcomed a new student trustee to the table tonight. Kody Schwarze was voted in by the student body and was seated at the RLC Board’s monthly meeting tonight in the college’s student center.
Schwarze is a 19-year-old freshman from Valmeyer. He is double majoring in agricultural mechanics and production, and plans to enter the workforce after completing his education at RLC. Chances are he won’t have to go far to find work. His parents, Karen and Lenny Schwarze, farm roughly 600 acres with about 75 head of cattle, and own and operate Schwarze Trailer Repair Inc., a small business based in Valmeyer. He would like to work for his family as well as find employment in a mechanics shop, he said. He has one sibling, Emelie Schwarze, who is an ag business student at the University of Illinois.
“Being the student trustee is a great opportunity for me to speak the voice of the students,” he said. “I think it will be a good learning experience.”
“I congratulate Mr. Schwarze on being the successful candidate for the student trustee position,” said RLC President Charley D. Holstein. “It is a very important role ... a vital conduit between the student body and the board. I am confident he will serve our college well.”
Schwarze said he chose RLC after a friend who had been in the agricultural program suggested it to him. He said his parents encouraged him to enroll there, as did RLC Applied Science Division Chair Terry Wilkerson and Ag Mechanics Instructor Mark Mueller, who is originally from Schwarze’s area. Schwarze rents a home in Whittington with some friends, rather than making the hour-plus commute from Monroe County.
He will succeed outgoing student trustee Samantha York, a 20-year-old double major in agricultural business and production who lives in McLeansboro and plans to transfer from RLC to Murray State University in Kentucky.
Board Chairman Dave Edmison said York has served the college with great distinction. “Her comments have always been meaningful and we’ve learned a lot from her student insight,” he said. “She is an outgoing person, known across campus. We will truly miss Samantha. We always appreciate input from students. It gives us a better perspective.”
“I think Kody will do a good job,” York said. “He seems interested in the students and he really cares. He is really passionate about people’s feelings and how they are treated. He is smart enough to know what is right and wrong and he has gone through FFA parliamentary procedures, so he is familiar with how a meeting is conducted.”
York said she is very happy she chose to run for student trustee a year ago.
“Serving as Rend Lake College Student Trustee was a very memorable experience,” she said. “I learned a great deal and achieved new experiences. The Board is seated by a great group of gentlemen and I would like to say a great thank you to all of these men. If I wouldn’t have done it, I don’t think I would have gotten as involved with the college or the students’ interests as I did. It really was a motivator to learn what our students want and try to achieve that. In running for student trustee, my heart was just in the agriculture department. But, while serving, my heart has spread to the whole campus.”