Northeast Students Earn Place on Community College Academic Team

by derek  4/24/2009 2:43:49 PM --  (NORFOLK, Neb.) – Northeast Community College students Jared Sporleder, Pierce, and Lisa Sanders, Norfolk, were honored this week at the Phi Theta Kappa All-Nebraska Academic Team Recognition Day ceremonies in the Warner Legislative Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.

They joined 27 other community college students from across the state in activities that also included a luncheon at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel.

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an international academic honor society for two-year institutions, and

the Nebraska Community College Association (NCCA) sponsored the event to honor the students for their academic achievement, leadership, accomplishments, and service to the community.

The All-State Academic Team program began in 1994. The State Academic Teams are a division of the Academic All-American Team for Community, Technical, and Junior College students, an international program sponsored annually by Phi Theta Kappa, USA TODAY, and the American Association of Community Colleges. Last year, more than 800 of the nation’s finest community college students competed for recognition, spots on the national team, and cash stipends.

Each community college president is allowed to nominate two students per campus to the academic team.

As a result of scores earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition, Sporleder was named one of 150 Coca-Cola National Finalists for 2009 and will receive a check for $1,000 in August. The program is sponsored by the Coca Cola-Scholars Foundation and administered by Phi Theta Kappa.

Sporleder, a graduate of Pierce High School, also graduated from Northeast Community College in May of 2008 with a practical nursing diploma. He continued his studies at Northeast in the associate degree nursing program and will graduate in May. Following successful completion of the National Council of Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), he can practice as a licensed registered nurse.

He was one of three nursing students hired last summer by Faith Regional Health Services of Norfolk to participate in its summer internship program. “It was a very good experience for me,” he said. “I got to practice many skills and build my confidence during that summer. That training put me several months ahead of the other students and I was able to help them with their skills when fall classes started.”

“The grateful expressions and words of encouragement from patients have told me I am in the right profession,” he said about his work with patients.

Sporleder is currently president of the Northeast Community College Student Nurses’ Association and has been named one of its Students of the Month. He is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He hopes to continue his education after his Northeast graduation and eventually become a nurse practitioner.

A graduate of Scribner-Snyder High School, Sanders attended Joseph's School of Beauty immediately after her high school graduation. She worked as a hairdresser for 18 years before returning to college for her physical therapist assistant (PTA) degree. She continued to work as a hairdresser 30 hours a week while taking her prerequisites for the Northeast program.

Before beginning college, Sanders’ cared for a friend suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig disease. That work confirmed her decision to become a PTA. “My work with my friend was a true opportunity to see if I had what it took to help someone in that sort of situation,” she said.

“I saw in my friend that when something like ALS takes over your body, it is the inner beauty of a person that is actually our brightest light,” she continued.

A member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, she is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has been active in ALS in the Heartland and provided leadership in its annual walk to benefit ALS patients and their families. She has also worked as an anatomy and physiology tutor at Northeast Community College.

Following completion of her Northeast studies, she will be eligible to take the national certification exam for physical therapist assistants. Her current career goal is to find work in the physical therapy field in the Norfolk area. She has a particular interest in working with neurological patients.

The Phi Theta Kappa All-Nebraska Academic Team Recognition Day ceremonies included remarks by Senator Mike Flood, speaker of the Nebraska Legislature. Student speakers at the Recognition Ceremony included Laurel Gregoski, Central Community College area; Jamey Swanson, Mid-Plains Community College area, and Micha Fullerton, Southeast Community College area. Student speakers at the luncheon were Susan Wingfield, Metropolitan Community College area; Sporleder of the Northeast Community College area, and Deborah Rosentrater, Western Community College area.

Phi Theta Kappa has promoted academic achievement in two-year colleges since 1918. To be eligible for membership, students must have earned at least 12 credit hours and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.5 or above out of a 4.0 system.

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