ICCTA Pacesetter Award
2003 AWARD RECIPIENT
Elgin Community College
Elgin Community College (1999)
After completing Elgin Community College one semester early, honor student Lisandra Martinez accepted two government
internships in Washington, D.C., and graduated from George Washington University at age 20. She then returned to her
alma mater to serve as the liaison for area high school students interested in becoming bilingual educators. "ECC
has been my family, my second home, my place of learning, and a launch pad for my professional life," she says.
"I had no idea that this institution would play such an important role in my life."
Registered dental hygienist / Adjunct faculty
Lewis and Clark Community College
Lewis and Clark Community College (1998)
RDH magazine describes Cathy Anderson as "a practicing hygienist, a dental educator, and is sometimes
known to dress up as ‘Flossie' the beaver!" A former grade school instructor, she designed and now teaches
a Lewis and Clark Community College class to prepare hygiene students for their National Written Board Exam.
In 2002 she received the John O. Butler/RDH "Healthy Gums Healthy Life™ Award of Distinction. "Being able
to integrate my teaching skills into my new career has been a dream come true!" she says.
John L. Cain
President / Chief executive officer
Scot Forge Company
McHenry County College (2002)
John Cain began working at Scot Forge in 1978 to earn money for college. Twenty-five years later, he has risen
from blacksmith to president and earned his associate degree, thanks to on-site management classes from McHenry
County College. "As an employer in this county, I am pleased such a program exists," Cain says. "This is
particularly important to students who are trying to juggle professional and family obligations like I was."
Lester F. Catlin
Retired business owner
Moraine Valley Community College (1999)
As a World War II veteran, Lester Catlin's family and work responsibilities prevented him from taking advantage
of the G.I. Bill. After 50 years of dreaming of a college education, he enrolled in classes at Moraine Valley
Community College. Now at age 82, this lifelong learner is pursuing his master's degree in English literature.
"My only regret is that I didn't start my education sooner," Catlin says.
Adjunct faculty in continuing education
Kaskaskia College (2002)
A native of Germany, Tanja Dorr is a single parent who enrolled in Kaskaskia College's computer technology program
despite her lack of English proficiency. "Thanks to their help, today I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, have earned
my A.A.S. in computer information systems, and I am well on my way to earn my B.A.S. in information systems
technology. Without Kaskaskia College I would not be anywhere close to where I am today," she says.
Student support specialist and ENLACE fellow
College of Lake County
College of Lake County (1999)
Columba Gaytan-Morales' family immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 14. The first in her
family to attend and complete college in the U.S., she now mentors Latino youth to encourage them to pursue
higher education. Gaytan-Morales is also working on her masters degree and plans to attend law school. "The
College of Lake County helped me overcome my (language and financial) barriers," she says. "I know that
attending the College of Lake County made my dreams of getting an education a reality."
Rochelle Township High School
Kishwaukee College (2000)
Charity Heller graduated from Kishwaukee College with a perfect GPA and attendance record while raising her son
and volunteering for numerous community service projects. "It was at Kishwaukee that I found my calling – teaching,"
she says. "It was in the classroom at Kishwaukee that I gained my commitment to learning, and it is in my own
classroom today at Rochelle High School that I strive to instill that same commitment in other students."
Patrick M. High
Graduate assistant in continuing education
University of Illinois at Springfield
Spoon River College (1999)
Patrick High's commitment to public service is evident in the classroom as well as the workplace. A past
president of Spoon River College's Phi Theta Kappa honor society, he currently leads a human-rights organization
at the University of Illinois. In addition, as a member of the Illinois National Guard, he has volunteered for
medical-service missions in central America. Commenting on his community college years, he notes, "I did not
just go to school or work, I became part of the community at Spoon River. The sense of belonging enhanced my
College of DuPage (2001)
Unmotivated by a "confining" high school experience, Tom Krieglstein admits his first year at the College of DuPage
"consisted of sleeping, working on campus and schoolwork (in that order)." Caring teachers and involvement in campus
activities helped him uncover hidden leadership skills. In 2001, he was one of only 20 students in the country named
to USA Today's All-USA Two-Year College Academic First Team. He now shares his "average to All-American" story as a
motivational speaker with his own company, WoW! Concepts.
Iza Marie Piasecki
American Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac
Danville Area Community College (1999)
Iza Piasecki's initial college experience at a private university had not been a positive one. Making a new start
at Danville Area Community College, she went from straight "D's" to the Dean's List. "My instructors took a personal
interest in me," she recalls. "They noticed when I didn't come to class and would call me on it. It's hard to face
your biology instructor at the mall when you skipped her lab that morning." Piasecki has since earned a bachelor's
degree in business, received two excellence awards from General Motors, and plans to open her own car dealership.
Fund sales team, Managed products department
A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Southwestern Illinois College (1998)
A first-generation college student from a rural community, Daniel Siegfried notes that "from the first day I stepped
into class at Southwestern Illinois College, the faculty made me feel that they cared about my education." That caring
atmosphere has helped him advance to the sales team of a Fortune 500 company within three years of graduation. Active
in the business honor society Phi Beta Lambda, Siegfried received the Illinois Phi Beta Lambda's Businessman of the
Year Award in 2001.
Supervisor, Information technology department
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Richland Community College (1999)
Putting his family life and full-time job on hold, David Stewart enrolled at Richland Community College in "a leap
of faith." His fortitude was not lost on his fellow students, who elected him president of the Student Senate and
the Black Student Association. He also received four merit scholarships and Richland's 1998 Student Leadership Award.
Still pursuing his educational goals, Stewart is working on his master of divinity degree from Illinois Baptist
Zeppelyn Dawn Venable
Speech language pathologist
Therapeutic Integration Services, Inc.
John A. Logan College (1998).
Honor student Zeppelyn Venable's childhood triumph over a learning disability inspired her to seek a career helping
other children with special needs. Sign language classes at John A. Logan College led her to enter the field of
speech and language pathology. Now working with autistic children, Venable says her future plans include completing
her doctoral degree, writing a children's book, and using the book's proceeds to create a scholarship fund.
"I appreciate John A. Logan College for laying the foundation for my dreams and goals to pursue a career helping
children," she says.
For additional information, please contact
Kim Villanueva at 1-800-454-2282, ext. 1.
Illinois Community College Trustees Association|
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
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