TJC’s student leadership awards banquet returns after two-year hiatus

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students sitting at table during banquet

By Chris Swann

Design & Photo Editor

Tyler Junior College held its 15th annual Student Leadership Banquet to celebrate student organizations, faculty/staff and students. The banquet was held in the Rodgers Student Center Apache Rooms and was the first in-person banquet in almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Over 100 individuals were nominated for their contributions to TJC over the fall and spring  semesters. Faculty/staff, organizations and students were recognized in campuswide awards, along with individual organizations presenting awards for their members.

Photo by Chris Swann

Faculty and staff are also recognized for their contributions to student success in two categories: Unsung hero and adviser of the year. Emmanuel Sims, manager of residential housing/Ornelas Hall Complex, received adviser of the year for the first time.

“This award means to me that the work I do here at TJC is not in vain, and my efforts are recognized and appreciated by the college,” Sims said. “Even though I don’t look for praise for what I do for my students, it still feels good to be appreciated. I wouldn’t say this motivated me more, but I would say this has encouraged me that I am fulfilling my purpose at TJC, which is helping college students find their way and graduate.”

Among the many students who were recognized, sophomore Madelyn Hatch, who helped take the women’s soccer team to the Division I NJCAA National Women’s Soccer Championship game in November, received the Champion of Character award. 

“I was honestly shocked that I received this award. There are so many other amazing athletes that I thought would receive it before me,” Hatch said. “I’ve done my best to work really hard and be an example to my teammates.”

Individual organizations were recognized for not only their contributions to campus and community service, but some events these organizations held were also awarded. STEM Club received the award for emerging student organization of the year. 

Dr. Jenifer Parsons, STEM club adviser, said the award highlights the efforts students have made over the year. 

“It’s really affirming that we’re moving in the right direction. And it’s kind of validating all the hard work that  we’ve been putting in both the faculty and the students for the last year.”

The award for event of the year went to TRIO’s First-Generation Day. The event was held in the Quad on Nov. 8 during a national holiday celebrating the successes of first-generation college students. The event provided free food and memorabilia and celebrated the first in their families to attend college.

Other awards presented include:

 Unsung Hero (Faculty/Staff)

– Emily Mass

 Diversity Event of the Year

  -“Movie Night ft. Coco” by HSO

Student Organization of the Year 

– Student Physical Therapist Assistants

 Student Employee of the Year

– Irene Ramirez 

Unsung Hero (Student) 

– Alexia Morales

Emerging Student Leader of the Year

  – Werner Snyman

 Student Leader of the Year 

– Alexia Morales 

Outstanding Student Representative 

– Joseph Ritter

Excellence in Education Award 

-Dr. Jill Johnson 

Spirit & Tradition Award

-Jasilyn Schaefer

Service Award

– Dr. Tampa Nannen