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Ozarka presents outstanding awards

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ozarka College is a member of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges (AATYC), which is comprised of two-year colleges across the state. The AATYC holds an annual conference every October with each college selecting an outstanding student, staff member, faculty and alumnus to be recognized at the conference.

Ozarka College student Cheryl Ekenes of Horseshoe Bend was selected by the faculty of Ozarka as the 2006-07 Academic All-Star. Ekenes is pursuing her life's dream of becoming a nurse. She is currently a student in the practical nursing program and hopes to transfer to a four-year institution to obtain a BSN. Her excellent academic record has led her to being named to the National Dean's List. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Arkansas Licensed Practical Nurses Association.

Upon receiving her honor during the Academic All-Star brunch, Ekenes, along with the other all-stars throughout the state, were surprised to hear the announcement by the Director of AATYC, Dr. Ed Franklin, that every Arkansas public four-year institution was offering a full scholarship to the all-stars to continue their educational pursuit.

Chosen as outstanding alumnus, Betty Eash of Hardy graduated with her associate of arts degree from Ozarka College in 2003. She continued as a fulltime student on scholarship at Williams Baptist College, earning a bachelor of science degree in family psychology in May of 2005. Betty currently works for Health Resources of Arkansas as an intervention specialist. As a paraprofessional in mental health, her job entails working with children and their families to implement treatment plans set forth by their clinician.

Eash was in her 50s when she started college at Ozarka. A former instructor said, "She exemplifies what Ozarka and other two year colleges are about; access for all, help and encouragement from staff and faculty, hard work by students and ultimate success." Eash has plans to begin work on her graduate level coursework at UALR.

Rex Whitfield of Calico Rock was selected by his peers as outstanding faculty member for 2006-07. As division chair for math, science and education, Whitfield began teaching math at Ozarka College more than 13 years ago. He taught math and some science courses on the junior high and high school levels prior to being a fulltime faculty member at Ozarka. Whitfield said he never knew how much he would enjoy teaching on the college level. He said the time spent one-on-one outside of the classroom and seeing the "light" come on when a student understands is the true joy of teaching.

James Spurlock of Viola was selected to serve as outstanding staff person for the college. Spurlock often single-handedly manages the day-to-day operations of the Ozarka College Education Center in Ash Flat as administrative assistant II. Spurlock multi-tasks very diligently to maintain excellent services to an average of 200 students and assist the faculty and staff, and also serves as the point of contact for community events held on the Ash Flat campus. Until recently, Spurlock was a member of the college foundation team. By utilizing the training in business that he received from Ozarka, he helped to organize and maintain accounting for fundraisers, endowment and other foundation records.

The AATYC 18th Annual Fall Conference was held at the Hot Springs Convention Center in Hot Springs on Oct. 15-17. Each of the representatives was honored at an awards ceremony during the conference. Several other Ozarka College faculty, staff and administration participated throughout the conference.



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