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Student leaders recognized at 2018 GRCC Leadership Banquet

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Keynote speaker Denavvia Mojet addresses the audience

The 2018 Grand Rapids Community College Student Leadership Banquet was held Thursday at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Park Zoo where 16 awards were presented to GRCC student leaders and organizations.

The banquet commenced with an introduction by Brianna Castillo, Campus Activities Board President, and Student Alliance President Cale Merdzinski during which they welcomed GRCC student leaders and others in attendance.

Merdzinski noted the significance of the banquet.

“This event is so special because this is one of the best times of the year to really bring together so many different people,” he said. “Non-traditional students, traditional students, and all of the students who are leaders and advocates and just exceptional at GRCC. So everyone here is more than deserving of being here tonight for a great dinner and some recognition.”

After a brief dinner, there was a showing of video on leadership presented by Director of Student Life and Conduct, Lina Blair.

Keynote speaker, GRCC alumnus and radio host Denavvia Mojet, gave her address before presenting the awards.

Mojet is the Strategic Communications Coordinator for LINC UP, a Grand Rapids-based non-profit housing organization, and host of “Political Pulse” on 97.3 FM. In her address, Mojet, credited GRCC for her success.  

“GRCC wasn’t just the place where I got my education,” she said. “It was truly jump-started me to getting to the place where I am today.”

Mojet encouraged the student leaders in attendance to continue on their path to success after graduation.

“Everything that you’ve been given, whether that’s at GRCC, at your high school… everything that you need to succeed you have in your toolkit right now,” Mojet said. “So because you’re students leaders at GRCC, I want you to know that however you got here however it landed you here you are absolutely and totally adept.”

The awards were presented by Merdzinski shortly after the address. The award winners were:

  • Biology Department Awards – Outstanding Biology Student of the Year Marcus Barissi
  • Physical Sciences Department Awards –
    • Physical Sciences Student of the Year for Excellence in Chemistry Christopher Klap
    • Physical Sciences Student of the Year for Excellence in Geology Katie Schumann
    • Physical Sciences Student of the Year for Excellence in Physics Sam Johnson
  • Music Department Awards –
    • Emerging Music Student Academic Leadership Award winner Ben Ferrel
    • Distinguished Music Student Academic Leadership Award winner Michaella Braamse
  • Wellness and Exercise Science Department Awards –
    • Exercise Science Student of the Year Brett Meyers
    • Wellness Student of the Year Jeralee Huntoon
  • Mathematics Department Awards –
    • Math Perseverance Award winner William Palmer
    • Math Perseverance Award winner Nettie Villareal
    • Outstanding Mathematics Award winner Jason Ross
  • Social Sciences Department –
    • Student Research Paper Competition First Place Award winner Alex Allen
    • Student Research Paper Competition Second Place Award winner Anna Reynolds
    • Student Research Paper Competition Third Place Award winner Ian Ezinga
  • Jerry Benham Award for Staff/Faculty – Erin Busscher
  • Benham Service and Engagement Award – Raydale Bonivel
  • Cedric and Sandy Ward Leadership Award – Marcus Barissi
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award – Kyezie Bwanangela
  • Brian Kloet Campus Involvement Award – Cale Merdzinski
  • New Organization of the Year – Native American Student Organization
  • Event, Project, and Program of the Year – Phi Theta Kappa for their Honors in Action Project
  • Student Organization of the Year – StandOut