By Zach Deppa
Last year, eight students from RCTC earned the 2015-2016 Academic Student-Athlete Award from the National Junior College Athletic Association. This award is given to student-athletes who succeeded not only at sports but on the academic level as well.
There are three classifications to the award based on GPA, the Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence: 4.00 GPA, Superior Academic Achievement Award: 3.80-3.99 GPA, and Exemplary Academic Achievement Award: 3.60-3.79 GPA.
Of these eight award winners two are returning to RCTC for their sophomore year, golfer Brandon Bergene and volleyball player Callie Hanley. Bergene received the Superior award, and Hanley received the Exemplary award.
Bergene was taken by surprise that he had been awarded the NJCAA Award. He did not know he was even nominated. He said that he simply worked hard and did his best in athletics and academics. He sacrificed a lot time with friends to do homework and sports practices.
One of Bergene’s main goals for the season is to go to nationals as a team. Brandon really hopes he can do as well as last year and is going to work his hardest to achieve this and even excel. Brandon’s main strategy to success was learning time management. He had to do many assignments ahead of time to make sure that golf activities never interfered with studies.
Handley learned about earning the NJCAA award through her grandparents, as they read the newspaper. This really surprised her because she was unaware that the award even existed.
Handley’s hopes for the year are to graduate from the Dental Assistant Program and for the volleyball team to win another national championship.
She is confident that she can do as well as last year in academics and sports because of the great people supporting her. She says “they are always there for me. They are super positive and full of love and support.”
Handley works hard and uses time management by prioritizing and focusing on the things that need to get done. She does her best to understand her studies by taking notes and trying to apply it to real life situations.
Six other RCTC athletes, who have since graduated or transferred, also were honored with the NCJAA Student Athlete Award. They are football players Kamery Garlick and Nick Rooney, basketball player Spencer Tollefson, wrestler Tyler Vogt, volleyball player Tori Peterson and softball player Christina Stangler.