Tyler Junior College hosted its 2020 Student Leadership Banquet on April 21 via Zoom, an online video meeting program that has become popular among schools and universities amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite circumstances surrounding the outbreak, including school closures and mandated social distancing, TJC found a way to honor its students and staff during the end-of-the-year ceremony.
“The purpose of the banquet is to celebrate all of student life – all of our organizations, faculty and staff – all in one night, in a more public format where everyone can come together,” said Lauren Tyler, TJC’s Director of Student Life. “The purpose is to really celebrate the year, just to really showcase all of the accomplishments of student life and organizations.”
The 2020 ceremony was TJC’s 13th Student Leadership Banquet. Tyler said that TJC originally planned to postpone the banquet, but eventually chose to continue with the awards online.
“We wouldn’t want to forget everything that happened from August to March,” Tyler said. “You don’t wash away the entire year; it’s still important to celebrate all that happened. For the most part, our staff came together and figured it out.”
Staff had to accommodate some operational changes during the presentation, such as playing audio clips of a drumroll in lieu of a live band.
“It was fun to see everyone watching it,” Tyler said. “Some people dressed up, some people had pom poms. It was really a neat experience even when everyone was in front of the screen.”
The awards presented, as well as their winners, were as follows:
Unsung Hero Award for Faculty/Staff: Amanda Richardson (Professor/Clinical Coordinator – Dental Hygiene)
Adviser of the Year: Amanda Storer (Professor – Physical Therapist Assistant)
Outstanding Community Service Project: “Day for Kids” by Student Physical Therapist Assistants
Outstanding Diversity Program: “Major Madness” by Phi Theta Kappa
Outstanding Campus Event of the Year: “Tri My Best Triathlon” by Student Physical Therapist Assistants
Student Employee of the Year: Harold Herrington
Champion of Character award: Levi Russo-Bell
Unsung Hero Award for Students: Yecenia Sosa
Heart of Gold Award: Y’vecia Birks
Dr. Timothy Drain Champion of the Year: Robert VanMeter
Student Leader of the Year: Anahi Hernandez
“It’s important to still do as much as you can right now that’s somewhat normal,” Tyler said. “You’re all going to be remembering this for a long time.”