Student success was on full display Thursday evening when Yavapai College faculty, staff and community residents gathered to honor outstanding students across the academic and career-training spectrum.

Highlights of the 2019 Evening of Recognition at the YC Prescott campus included a standing ovation for U.S. Marine veteran Jason Pennock who served six combat deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. Pennock was named “Outstanding Student in Communication.” YC communications instructor Mark Woolsey said of Pennock, “when an instructor recognizes a leader in a classroom, it is a good bet that that student is a veteran.”

The evening’s most prestigious awards, the President’s and Vice President’s Award for Academic Excellence, were bestowed on Ruby Ramirez and Carla Weil, respectively.

Ramirez started attending YC at age 14 and has tutored calculus, biology, chemistry and math for several years in the college’s learning center. She is a volunteer tutor at the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Center.

Ramirez was surprised and pleased with the award. “It feels unbelievable. I didn’t see it coming,” she said. She attributes her success, in part, to learning center colleagues and YC faculty for their acceptance and support.  She said leaving YC will be difficult. “I am going to miss it so much. I really feel like I grew up here.” A 4.0 student, Ramirez plans to pursue a career in scientific research after continuing her education at Arizona State University.

Weil, a YC Student Ambassador who is earning an associate’s degree in Administration of Justice this spring, is continuing her education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and a volunteer with the college’s TRIO program. In her award nomination, Weil was described as “one of the most positive, outgoing, friendly and helpful people” who excelled in customer service and assisting students with registration needs.

In her remarks during the Evening of Recognition, YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine said the student honorees individually and collectively embody the college’s mission – “to make the world a better place through our ideas, our innovations and our engagement with one another.”

Dr. Ron Liss, YC vice president for instruction and student development, said celebrating student success is the ultimate reward for educators. “It’s really what makes our lives fulfilled… watching these outstanding students who do such wonderful work on a regular basis.”

The following students were named 2019 Outstanding Students in:

  • English, Steve Hargrove, Charles Carpenter and Stela Velinova
  • Humanities, Christine Hoekstra
  • Graphic Design, Trisha Reed
  • Instrumental Music, Tristin John
  • Visual Arts, Calliandra Bevers and Hayden Woodward
  • Video Game Development, Mary Ames
  • Communication, Jason Pennock
  • Administration of Justice, Kelly Belsito and Terri Boylan
  • Sociology, Gloria Gomez
  • Business and Computer Science, Hanna Pennington
  • Accounting, Nicole Earl
  • Nursing, Annika Wilson
  • Allied Health, Josie Barger
  • Physical Education, Sylvian Pullins
  • Math, Andrew Purkeypile
  • Science, Andrew and Cecilia Purkeypile
  • College Honors Program, Kiva Keith
  • TRIO, Kaylee Berisford
  • All Arizona Academic Team, Kiva Keith and Ashlynn Bice