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R-P Grads Earn Academic Award at MCC

Two Rockets

Two of MCC’s Phi Theta Kappa students have been named to the 2016 All Michigan Academic Team. Cassandra Lawton and Summer Yeck were honored at a ceremony in Lansing along with other representatives from Michigan’s community colleges.  They were nominated by the MCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa for their academic achievements and volunteer activities.

Their volunteer projects include road clean ups, children’s theater camps and assisting at scholarship fundraisers.  “My favorite community service I have been a part of was working with Endurance Adventure at Reeths-Puffer,” said Yeck. “Working with teams of kids to get them outdoors and learning has always been rewarding. We end each season with a race, and it has always amazed me how each team will work together and become one by the end.”

Volunteerism is an important aspect of Phi Theta Kappa. “I think it is important to do your best in all subjects this way people can see how determined you are,” said Lawton. “I feel it is important to help others because it is very likely that you will need to lean on others in the future.”

Other criteria for the award includes a high level of scholarship.  “Keeping my grades up is an equivalent to keeping the window of opportunity open,” said Yeck. “I don’t want grades to hold me back from accomplishing anything. Therefore, the better I do in school, the more doors I will open in the future.”

Both Yeck and Lawton were students at Reeths-Puffer High School. Lawton is still technically in high school, as she is in the Early College program. She will graduate this year with an associate degree and high school diploma.   “I was somewhat surprised with the award,” said Yeck. “ I knew I won before I really knew what it meant. I was surprised with how formal the recognition was.  She said she was gratified to be recognized academically at the state level.

Both Yeck and Lawton are admittedly overachievers. Yeck also credits her organizational skills for her success.   “I have always consistently been near the top of my class,” said Yeck. “Likewise in sports and extracurriculars, I have held leadership positions for my work.”

Prior to the ceremony, the 63 honorees from around the state were recognized by the Legislature at the State Capitol.  “Everyone who was awarded that day had his or her name read off with a story and accomplishments,” said Yeck. “I was amazed at all the different backgrounds of the academic team winners.”

Suggestions both have for others to succeed include focusing on what they are good at, traveling and reading a lot.  Lawton envisions herself as a marriage and family therapist in 10 years.  “I have always been a high achiever” said Lawton, “and my dreams are of becoming a marriage and family therapist, as well as striving to help my family.”  Yeck doesn’t have her life planned out that far in advance.  “I think I am going to Northern Michigan University for two years, and I know I want to travel and move around a bit after that,” said Yeck. “I would have to say the rest is opportunity after that point because there is so much in the world that I am unexposed to at this point.” Phi Theta Kappa is the world’s largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year college students.

Article Written by Amy Huber, editor of The Bay Window,  Muskegon Community College Student Newspaper