WKCTC students to receive honors April 30 includes All-USA Acade - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

WKCTC students to receive honors April 30 includes All-USA Academic Nominees

Cassandra Grace (Source: WKCTC) Cassandra Grace (Source: WKCTC)
Heather Vandiver (Source: WKCTC) Heather Vandiver (Source: WKCTC)
PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) -

Heather Vandiver and Cassandra Grace will be among ninety-three students to be recognized at West Kentucky Community and Technical College's 2015 Honors Ceremony at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 30 in the Clemens Fine Arts Center.Vandiver of McCracken County and Grace of Graves County were nominated for the 2015 All-USA Community College Academic Team.

All-USA Team members are selected by USA TODAY and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

The award is presented to exceptional students at the nation's community colleges with consideration of grades, academic rigor, growth and how well the students use their education to benefit their schools and communities.

"I am honored to be awarded the opportunity to be an ALL-USA Academic Team member,” said 25-year-old Vandiver, a graduate of Hopkins County Central High School in Madisonville. Raised in poverty and in a family where education was not encouraged, Vandiver said she has literally worked her way up from the bottom. “From all that I have achieved (she was also selected as the 2014 WKCTC September Student of the Month), it is rewarding for me just to have made it this far. I thought I would never be in college. I thought I would never have the chance,” said Vandiver.

From the timid, unsure student she was when she began taking classes at WKCTC in fall 2012, Vandiver said with the help and support of family, friends and WKCTC faculty and staff, she has become the strong, independent, confident, driven woman she is today.

Being selected for the All-USA Academic Team is another confidence-building step toward reaching for her goals, especially striving to make a better life for herself and her son, Daegon.

“I want him (Daegon) to strive for education as I strive for it now,” Vandiver said. “I have seen what it can do to a person. It gives them hope, and willingness to give their all to be successful. That's what this nomination means to me.”

Vandiver earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in business administration in December 2014.

She is continuing her studies at WKCTC to earn an Associate in Arts degree with plans to transfer to Murray State University in fall 2015 to earn her bachelor's degree in business administration.

She hopes to be CEO of a company that is intricately involved in working with the homeless and the environment.

Just a few months after graduating from Reidland High School in 2008, Cassandra Grace fulfilled a life-long dream of serving in the military by joining the Kentucky National Guard.

When she returned from basic training, she met her husband, Corey.

In May 2010, they welcomed their son, Waylin, who was born prematurely and had numerous health issues.

Grace earned an Associate of Science degree from Mid-Continent University in fall 2013. During which time, Waylin was diagnosed with a childhood cancer that eventually claimed his life just before his third birthday.

“When I finally realized what career I truly wanted, I decided to come to WKCTC and absorb more learning experience,” said 25-year-old Grace. “My main goal is to learn as much as I can from every course so that I can ultimately be the best advocate for others that I can be.”

Graduating from WKCTC in December 2014 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in medical information technologies, Grace was recently hired as a medical coding specialist with Lourdes Mercy Health. Her future plans include possibly returning to college to earn a bachelor's degree.

Other students to receive recognition during the April 30 Honors Ceremony are listed below by county of residence:

Ballard County

Chad Booher - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Sherry Hamm - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Meredith Kelley - Outstanding Phlebotomy Student Award

Jordan Merryman - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Rhonda Miller - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Linda Releford - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Devon Robertson - Diagnostic Medical Sonography Academic Award

Charles Stinson - Computer Information Technology Outstanding Student Award

Joseph Taylor - Outstanding Achievement in Business Transfer and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Sara White - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Calloway County

Michelle Chadwick - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Alicia Eaves - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Michelle Wiggins – Associate Degree Nursing Academic Achievement and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Carlisle County

Kayla Moore - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Emily Owens - Diagnostic Medical Sonography Outstanding Graduate Award

Crittenden County

Elizabeth Brown - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Danielle Duncan - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Jacob Highfil - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Graves County

Brittany Burns - Excellence in Criminal Justice

Jacob Chambers - Excellence in Education: Secondary

Shelby Glisson – Practical Nursing Academic Achievement

Jonathan Goatley - Mathematics Honors Award

Cassandra Grace - All-USA Academic Team

Matthew Henson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Douglas Irby - Excellence in Diesel Technology

Tara Isbell - KCTCS All-Academic Team, Florence Nightingale Award and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Ashley Keen - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Jennifer Kemp - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Jesse McCord - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Morgan McManus - Outstanding Radiography Student Award

Caitlin McManus - Outstanding Surgical Technology Clinical Achievement Award

Ralisha Oliver - Excellence in Applied Engineering Technology

Gregory Wiggins - Outstanding Surgical Technology Academic Achievement Award

Hickman County

Teressa Campbell - Medical Information Technology Academic Excellence and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Livingston County

Geneva Gingerich - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Gary Ivy - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Breanna Lowrance - Excellence in Social Science

Erin Roberts - Dental Hygiene Hu-Friedy Golden Scaler Award

Courtney Walker - Excellence in Communications and Coca-Cola Leader of Promise

Marshall County

Gabriel Dowd - Excellence in Diesel Technology

Casey Hackney - Culinary Arts Outstanding Student

Emily Hood - Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology

Alice Knight - Advanced Nursing Assistant Honor Award

Alexa Morgan - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Cheryl Mott - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Jacob Reilley - Excellence in Automotive Technology

Shea Wilson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Elizabeth Wilson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

McCracken County

Christopher Barrow - Excellence in Physics

Jessica Carrell – Practical Nursing Florence Nightingale Award

Kelsey Couch - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Monica Esterlein - Outstanding Clinical Cosmetology Student

Melissa Fierro - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Kristina Findlay - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Amanda Forsythe - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Candace Gallo - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Casey Hackney - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Nevada Hall - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Leaslie Harris - Excellence in Student Support Services

Zachary Hite - Computer Information Technology Outstanding Student Award

Jestean Howard - Excellence in Education: Interdisciplinary Early Childhood

Rebecca Hummel - Academic Excellence in Dental Assisting

Justin Jackson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Whitney Kelly - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Hai Kim - Chemistry Achievement Award

Dorina Misiti - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Natoshia Mounday - Outstanding Phlebotomy Student Award

Shelley Pangman - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Clarissa Pease - KCTCS All-Academic Team and Excellence in Education: Elementary

Jae Rayburn-Trimble - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Catalina Reyes - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Annissa Shelley - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Allye Smithson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Wesley Sullivant - Excellence in Automotive Technology

Erin Ulrich - Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Academic Achievement Award and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Heather Vandiver - All-USA Academic Team, Outstanding Achievement in Business Administration and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Rometta Washington - Science Research Award

Benjamin Watson - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Andrew Weitlauf - Excellence in Biology

Jill Westerfield - PSAD Excellence in Visual Arts

ILLINOIS

Massac County

Kathy Caldwell - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Sara Gutierrez - Excellence in Foreign Language: Spanish

Keith Hayes - Outstanding Overall Cosmetology Student

Mason Heine - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

Grace Yocum - PSAD Excellence in Visual Arts

TENNESSEE

Obion County

Jennifer Davis-Cooley - Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Clinical Achievement Award and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

April Jaggers - Outstanding Academic Achievement in Pharmacy Technology

Weakley County

Jessica Alderdice - Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges

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