Shawna Fitzgibbons considered receiving the Who’s Who Among Students award last week to be a new chapter in her life beyond Hudson Valley.
“Ending up here is definitely rewarding, but this is just the beginning,” said Fitzgibbons, one of 41 students which received the Who’s Who award last Monday.
While working towards her first college degree, the 26-year-old student worked three jobs and pursued volunteer work outside of campus. “It was a lot, but you just don’t sleep or have a personal life,” she said.
Over her time at the college, A’chynee Edmundson, business administration student, has been involved in about five clubs and organizations on campus. “I wasn’t going to come to Hudson Valley, but with opportunities such as this award, it makes me think that Hudson Valley was the best choice I could’ve made,” said Edmundson.
Including Edmundson, seven recipients were Student Senate members. The ceremony came right after the end of the Senate’s weekly meeting. “We got out fortunately just in time. We were all kind of excited,” said Student Senate treasurer Josiah Dillon.
Award winners ranged from student leaders to student athletes. Lennox Degrasse, CIS student balanced a 4.0 grade point average over two semesters while playing basketball and football with the college. “There’s a different level of focus with [athletics and academics] so it’s just easier to switch it on and off once you get used to it,” said Degrasse.
In order to be qualified to for the award, students must be matriculated, have 24 credit-hours and maintain a 3.2 grade point average. Recipients this year had a combined 3.74 grade point average. One third of one percent of students receive the award every year.
Shreshta Kota, Foreign Language and Culture Club president, was surprised to be part of that percentage when she was told by family about her nomination last month. “When I heard about getting the award, coming downstairs, I could feel the tears in my eyes,” she said.
Families across the region gathered in the BTC for the award ceremony. “I’m very proud of his accomplishments, his dedication to academic success as well as the Hudson Valley community,” said Robert VanNess Sr., about his son, Bobby VanNess, receiving the award.
Krista Seeberger, early childhood education student, almost gave up on the award after having difficulties applying for Who’s Who last semester. She went through several revisions of her application. “I tried and I filled out the application and it was kind of a rocky road to get the application right and I almost gave up, but now, I’m really glad I didn’t,” said Seeberger after receiving the award at the ceremony.
Students are selected for the award in the fall by a nominating committee campus representing departments from athletics to Student Activities. “When you start to see students who are scholars academically, but are managing their time efficiently with volunteer programs and when you get to know them on a personal level, those students become prime candidates,” said Louis Coplin, director of student life and member of the selection committee.