Muskegon Community College students Summer Yeck and Cassandra Lawton were named to the 2016 All-Michigan Academic Team and honored on Wednesday, March 16, at a reception in Lansing sponsored by the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) and Phi Theta Kappa international honor society.
Students were selected on the basis of academic achievement, community service involvement, and leadership accomplishment. The State Academic Teams are a division of the All-USA Community College Academic All-American Team sponsored annually by Phi Theta Kappa, USA TODAY and the American Association of Community Colleges.
In addition to the student honorees, the luncheon attendees included community college presidents, administrators and trustees, state legislators, and Phi Theta Kappa advisors. Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,250 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States and throughout the world.
A native of Muskegon, Summer Yeck has earned a 3.90 GPA during her three years as an Early College of Muskegon County (ECMC) student. Having entered the program in 2013-14 as a Reeths-Puffer High School junior, she will graduate from MCC in May with both her high school diploma and an Associate’s in Science and Arts degree.
The experience of travelling and living in Europe fostered her interest in a hospitality management career. She plans to enroll at Northern Michigan University in fall 2016. An Honor’s List student at MCC, Yeck is president of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter. Last semester, she participated in the College’s Belize Field Study program in Central America.
“My long-term goal is to have a career that I love to do in a place that I love to live,” she said. “For me to love my job, I must feel like I am contributing to the world. By going into hospitality, I wish to help create experiences for people that they will never forget.”
“I have been able to combine all my lessons and unique experiences at Muskegon Community College and apply them to bettering my high school,” added Yeck, who received the Principal’s Award for outstanding academics and contributions at Reeths-Puffer.
“My community college classes have been business and event based. More than I expected, I could take what I learned in marketing and English and apply it to what I did in student council. After being a class officer for four years, my school duties became larger events. From talent shows to pride days, I could use the skills I learned in class to make each event better. What I learned in English 101 made my writing and emails sophisticated. Likewise, the organization and thought process that I picked up in Introduction to Marketing made my planning process crisp and clear.”
“However, the community college experience also taught me something that was not in any course curriculum. Community college opened the opportunity for me to work and be around adults. I had to learn how to not be timid around people older than me. If I believed I was right, I had to stand my ground no matter who I was facing.”
“I want to plan events or work in tourism. Going into hospitality fills my desire to help people discover. I would help people discover the world through tourism and then discover themselves.”
A native of Muskegon, Cassandra Lawton has earned a 3.95 GPA during her three years as an Early College of Muskegon County (ECMC) student. Having entered the program in 2013-14 as a Reeths-Puffer High School junior, she will graduate from MCC in May with both her high school diploma and an Associate in Science and Arts degree.
An honor student at MCC, she is vice president of fundraising for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter at the college and coordinated the raising of thousands of dollars this year for Phi Theta Kapps-supported travel to regional and national conferences. She is active with the Anime and Japanese Culture Club and at MCC served as a marshal at last year’s Commencement. At Reeths-Puffer, she helped with the Thanksgiving Give Back, the Muskegon Rescue Mission 5K Run, and as a volunteer at the Rebel Road festival in downtown Muskegon.
Lawton’s decision to join ECMC was admittedly the biggest of her life given the added dedication, organization and time management skills needed, but credits MCC with providing her the necessary support programs to succeed.
“The skills I’ve learned in the last three years will be beneficial in my future college and career endeavors,” said Lawton.
A visit to Norway with her grandmother when Lawton was younger was one of several trips to other countries that prompted her interest in different cultures.
“These experiences have made me want to discover more cultures and made me realize that everyone matters and has emotions,” explained Lawton. “I hope to be trained in therapy through different cultural experiences in the future, so that I can assist people through any age, race, or societal challenges they may encounter.”
Lawton plans to continue her education at a university in Fall 2016 to study behavioral psychology for a career as a licensed marriage and family therapist.
“Throughout my life, I have always helped friends and family through problems they encountered,” she said. “I want to help as many people as possible and decided the way to do this is to assist the family unit as a whole.”