All-Oregon Academic Team Scholars Honored for 2012-13

Each year Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) selects two students to represent the College as members of the All Oregon Academic Team.  This year, the honorees are Lea Smith (Toledo) and Andrea Balthaser (Lincoln City).  These students have demonstrated a long-term commitment to academic excellence by earning cumulative grade point average well above the minimum level of 3.25 and will be graduating this June.          



   Lea and Robert Smith are pictured left and Andrea and Justin Balthaser are pictured right 

Both students are also members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), a national honorary society for community college students. Membership in this organization can benefit students with the prospect of scholarships and awards. The OCCC chapter is Beta Delta Lambda.

OCCC’s English Instructor, Dr. Catherine Pavlish nominated Andrea Balthaser and characterized her as “Exemplifying the best qualities any student could have.  She is passionate about her schooling and deeply curious and intellectual in her studies--a true pleasure to have in a class.  I am so proud of her accomplishments!

Balthaser commented about her selection. “I was both excited and surprised to learn that I’d be representing Oregon Coast Community College as an All Oregon Academic Team member.  I have always worked hard at my academics.  Our trip to the Capitol was very refreshing and humbling as we got to listen to some of the heartfelt stories of successful students.”

The second All Oregon Academic Team member, Lea Smith, was nominated by Psychology Instructor, Jeanne Quarles.  Quarles proudly noted Smith as “an outstanding student and a real pleasure to have in class.  She is inquisitive and dedicated to her studies; often times going beyond the actual assignment to further her understanding of how the information applies to real world experiences.”

Both Balthaser ,Smith and their spouses were honored in Salem during ceremonies hosted by the Oregon Community College Association.  A total of 38 students were selected as All Oregon Academic Team members for 2013.  Interim President Bruce Koike introduced the pair to the assembled crowd during the event.  These introductions were followed by three student speakers and a keynote address by Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon’s Chief Education Officer.  Dr. Crew oversees Oregon’s K through 20 (pre-kindergarten through graduate school) education system.

After the group photo with the students and Governor John Kitzhaber, Smith and Koike met with Representatives Caddy McKeown and David Gomberg, and with Senator Arnie Roblan. Representative Gomberg also toured the Smiths through the House of Representatives chamber.

Smith reflected on the day’s activities, “It was a great experience to be recognized and be among the many talented students from all community colleges throughout the state. I was honored to visit the Capitol, meet Governor Kitzhaber, and discuss with our elected officials several issues that community colleges face today.