2015 STUDENT OF THE YEAR FINALISTS HIGHLIGHTS

Congratulations to our 2015 Student of the Year finalists.  Get to know our finalists and the Shasta College instructors who were an instrumental part in their academic success. 

Casey Schurig – Melian Manas    

Casey Schurig is the instructor that had the most impact on my education. He has been my instructor for the past three semesters for numerous classes. He has always been very supportive and encouraging. There were many times when I felt I was not going to pass a quiz or test and he would always give me pointers on how to study or he would say “you got this” and would also reminded me about the times  before where I stressed and panicked, but yet would turn around and pass with flying colors. He would be very understanding when I had my off days. He was never judgmental or harsh. He was always there when I needed him whether it was for his class or someone else’s class. If he did not know something he would direct me to the right person. I would have to say that he made school fun and enjoyable for me. He never made me or other students feel like we were bothering him. His door was always open to students. Mr. Schurig, at one point, encouraged me to apply for a position as a tutor at the Math and Business Learning Center on campus. He thought it would be a good opportunity for me to help others and keep the material that I had learned, and was learning, fresh in my mind. I was a tutor for two semesters, which was a great experience for me. I have had many great teachers but Mr. Schurig is the one who has really made a difference in my life. He always helped me look at things in a different perspective. He encour-aged me MANY times to step outside my box to learn and experience different things. I am and always will be grateful to him for the things he has taught me and the patience he had with me. I wish there were more teachers out there like him so that many more students all over the world could have a great experience at school.
 

Debra Griffin – Julie Machado   

Narrowing down my instructors to just one who has had the most impact on my aca-demic success was a little difficult. Several of my instructors have been encouraging and helpful. When I started attending Shasta College summer of 2013, Mrs. Griffin was my teacher for Math 101. I had several challenges at that time and I had to weigh the advice of counselors from alternatives to dropping out of college or facing life head on and fight back. I decided to be strong and remain in school. Math helped me to focus on something other than the hurt my family was going through. I confided in Mrs. Griffin about my issues and she was very understanding. She was emotionally supportive. That goes above and beyond what is expected of a college instructor. Mrs. Griffin gives her time willingly to students. Mrs. Griffin is also not satisfied with most printed math curriculum, so she has endeavored to put together course packs that are easier to teach and easier for students to understand. If you spend just a little time talking with her you will soon see that she cares deeply about the education students are receiving.
 

Dr. John Whitmer - Berenice Estrada                                                                   

 Dr. John Whitmer has gone above and beyond for his students. I took both political sci-ence class and United States History. At the end of each semester I was more than just thankful for the amount of knowledge that I had received from taking those classes. The tests were always exactly what I expected and Dr. Whitmer always had open office hours.  He was helpful with any question, including questions about universities. Also, in class he offers about 50 extra credit points that help boost your grade in the class and f you have an “A” in the class, you do not have to take the final. I learned more than just history or politics in both of Dr. Whitmer’s classes. He really teaches you morals about education, and the importance of education “where you are” and “where and who you want to become” (quotes from Dr. Whitmer).
 
 

Trena Kimler-Richards - Cricket Henderson           

The instructor who has had the most impact on my academic success is Trena Kimler-Richards.  Trena is the head instructor for most of the agriculture department.  She has been my instructor for at least one course every semester that I’ve been at Shasta Col-lege.  In all of her classes, whether it is Agriculture Business, or a lecture and lab class, like Animal Science, she pushes me to do my best by challenging me.  Her course material is never boring, is always applicable to real life scenarios, fun to learn and challenging, but designed to make students critically think and apply their knowledge.  Every class begins with announcements about student success workshops, scholarship opportunities, internship and job opportunities, and times that a counselor will be on the farm to help student academic goals.  Professor Kimler-Richards recommended me for an internship with the Economic and Workforce Development Office at Shasta College, where I currently work.  She has taken me to career fairs and industry field trips where I come back inspired to continue my education and achieve academic success.  In her lab classes I begin intimidated, but soon feel empowered with knowledge and skills to succeed in class and in the work force.  Professor Trena Kimler-Richards has had the most important impact on my academic success by presenting me with numerous opportunities in and outside class, making lectures and labs challenging and rewarding, and always offering guidance.
 

Dave Woodruff - Tracey Cole     

I have struggled with math my entire college career. I really commend the mathemat-ics staff here at Shasta College. But Mr. Woodruff really stood out. He is very caring and helps his students as much as possible. I think what stands out the most about Dave Woodruff is him giving you every opportunity to achieve/ make up a grade. It’s pretty tough going to school in your late thirties after being an 8th grade drop out. If it wasn’t for Mr. Woodruff I don’t think I would have wanted to continue my education, because I had so much trouble with math. He helped me get through it with understanding. I am in my final math class (Math 110) and feel somewhat confident. I’m not saying that I don’t still struggle, but I do have a knowledge that I don’t feel I’d have had without Mr. Woodruff.
 

Jeanette Velasquez - Chanté Catt                                                                 

It struck me as I went through thoughts on my college career that although I have had many teachers here at Shasta College, no instructor has done more for me than Jeanette Velasquez.  In 2011, I came in and discussed my goals with a counselor. This counselor tried to push me into a curriculum I had not wanted. I left school feeling defeated and like I may never reach the goals I dreamed of. I was reluctant to come back to the school. A year later I was introduced to Jeanette in the TriO office. She sat down with me and took the time to listen to what I craved, and what goals I intended to accomplish on my journey. She understood my needs right away and set me up to get an AAT in Sociology. Jeanette has been helping me prepare for transfer to Hum-boldt ever since. Not only has she helped me stay on track with school demands and my community projects, but she has been there for me to talk to when life gets tough. Even as I found out I would have my first child this year, as a thirty five year old student, Jeanette comforted me and kept me in line and focused on my big picture. Jeanette has been a fantastic cheerleader. I don’t think I could have had such success in my educational goals without her by my side. It takes a special person to help so many like Jeanette does. I feel so special that I have her on my side, pushing me to complete my goals in exemplary ways. If I had not met Jeanette in 2012, I don’t think I would have ever enrolled in school. I think my success coincides with all of Jeanette’s efforts in me. Without her, I would still be floating in a river of questions, for God knows how long.
 

Carol Rupe - David Kellar 

Up until I returned to school, I never thought I could accomplish what I have. Mrs. Rupe was a great instructor. She instilled in all of her students the importance of attendance and punctuality. I started off the semester after a 30 year break from school with a D on the first exam. She went over the questions in class and that helped me study for the next exams. I gradually improved on my tests, so by the end of the semester I received a B in the class. Without her love for the students and the academics, I don’t believe I’d be on track of accomplishing my goals. I greatly appreciate what Mrs. Rupe did for me.  I never missed a class, was on time every day, even though I drove up to the college from Red Bluff.
 

Leo Fong – David Spiegle

Mr. Fong was a great teacher. He gave me the tools I needed to complete English 1A. English for me was my most difficult subject. But, with working close with Mr. Fong he put my mind at ease and gave me the confidence I needed to pass 1A.  Mr. Fong also gave me another look into my future. He said “David I think you would be great at being a teacher because you care for others and like helping people”.  This has opened a new view at what I may become in the future.  After giving thought to his suggestion, I do want to maybe someday be an educator for welding. I love to see people smile after they master the scientific part of welding. And I want to see every student succeed. Just like Mr. Fong, I wanted to see me succeed in English 1A, and I did. Great teacher!
 

Lorraine Haas – Sonja Merrill

I started Shasta College Fall of 2013. My 1st ECE (Early Childhood) Class was ECE 1 with Mrs. Haas. I was terrified, not sure if I could do this, especially with four kids at home and was recently separated from my husband for a year. I know I love children and had some experience with Redding Rancheria Head Start as my two younger children attended the preschool. Lorraine was positive role model. She made me feel that “I could do this”. She was always eager to help or answer my questions. Even in my hardest of days or times of giving up, she was that encouraging person telling me “I could do this”.   I tend to be a perfectionist or as I’ve been told by other teachers “over achiever”.  I feel that I need to be, because of the life I have right now. I want my chil-dren to be proud of me. Lorraine has helped me in more ways than she will ever know! Thank you, Lorraine for your encouragement, your contagious smile, and continuous belief in me. I will forever be grateful for you.
 

Craig Carmena – Ne-Ke-Lish Moreno

Mr. Carmena overlooked my age and diverse background, treating me like any other student. At one point I had considered changing my goal in education for fear of my past not allowing me to follow my dreams to help today’s at-risk youth. I had wanted to be a juvenile probation officer. Mr. Carmena as well as Dave Mundy steered me toward guidance counselor due to my personality as well as my desire to reach our young on a more compassionate level. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for their belief in my abilities and support I would have dropped out of college believing I was destined to live a low impact life