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May 1, 2014

Cleveland State honors student achievements

Student life hosts 41st annual Awards and Recognition ceremony

By Lalita Smith

Cleveland State University’s Department of Student Life hosted its 41st annual Awards and Recognition ceremony Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s ceremony coordinator was Jamie Johnston, the assistant Dean of Students for student activities and events.

The ceremony is designed as a way to recognize and reward Cleveland State students for a variety of reasons, including exemplary academic achievement, exceptional talent or ability, or an extraordinary commitment to serving their community — and in some cases, a combination of all three.

As the doors to the ballroom opened, students, families and faculty members trickled into the ballroom, many of them taking advantage of the expansive and delicious looking buffet of appetizers, fruits and dipping sauces.

Nearly all of the Cleveland State students in attendance were award winners—proudly dressed in their Sunday best, many with friends and family members in tow.

The event kicked off with a message from Dr. Willie Banks, Associate Dean of Students, welcoming guests and congratulating the outstanding students who were being recognized.

Next up was Valerie Hinton- Hannah, Assistant Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs, who served as the mistress of ceremonies.

“[The ceremony] began as a way to recognize student achievements and accomplishments, because our students at Cleveland State didn’t get a lot of recognition,” said Hinton-Hannah.

“People have to be recognized — for some people it’s the first time in their lives [they’ve been recognized]. “It says for that five minutes ‘this is your shining moment’.”

Fifteen Cleveland State organizations and departments presented awards, plaques and scholarships to more than 40 Cleveland State students.

The accomplishments of these students were nothing short of amazing — many of them maintained GPA’s well over 3.5, while volunteering in the local community, holding down full time jobs and even serving in the military.

One such student was Tenika Jackson-Lamb, a six-year veteran of the United States Army — who, in May, will receive her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
Jackson-Lamb was awarded the Golden Apple award for academic excellence from the College of Education and Human Services.

“I found out [Thursday], it was the first I heard that I actually won,” said Jackson-Lamb. “I’m super excited about tonight, and a little overwhelmed at the same time.”

Jackson-Lamb, who currently holds a 3.96 GPA, will graduate with a license to teach K-3rd grade and hopes to go on to earn endorsements so she can teach 4th and 5th grade as well.

Another award winner in attendance was Lashone Burnett. Burnett is a junior and mother of five who majors in Studio Art Design.

She received the Frank C. Adams cultural award — which was presented by the Black Faculty and Staff organization.

“I was actually walking to class when I found out I won,” said Burnett. “I was really surprised.”
Kim Hurn — who not only presented the award but also serves as the chairperson for the Frank C. Adams committee — praised Burnett’s scholarship application in her presentation speech.

The application for the award consisted of an essay, letters of recommendation and samples of students’ artwork.

“Because Frank C. Adams was related to art, and it’s an artistic award, we look at the art —and Lashone [submitted] many forms of talented pieces of art.”

“We have so many wonderful applicants, we try to look at what’s required and what’s [done] above and beyond,” said Hurn.

Hurn added that although the applicant pool for the award has grown over the years, the committee is still actively looking for ways to expand it even more.

The night concluded with closing remarks from Banks, followed by a fun-filled reception complete with a DJ and dessert bar.

The ceremony stood as a representation and recognition of the sometimes unspoken achievements of Cleveland State students, and may have even inspired others to aspire to achieve the same level of personal and academic success that those selected students embodied.