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ORGANIZING COMMITTEE State Senators Dave Senjem and Sheila Kiscaden, Honorary Co-Chairs Sue Lovejoy, Post Bulletin SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Donald Supalla, RCTC President 5:00 PM – RECEPTION Lisa Baldus, RCTC Foundation Executive Director Ann Knudson, RCTC Foundation Board Treasurer, Co-Chair 6:30 PM – MASTER OF CEREMONIES Don Supalla, President, Rochester Community & Technical College Steve Prigge, RCTC Foundation Board Member, Co-Chair Dr. Donald Layton, Foundation Board Member Jesse Buhl, Financial Coordinator WELCOME & DINNER About Beat The Odds Trevor Hesley, Sponsorship Coordinator Senator David SenjemSTAFF Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award Chellyne Hoeppner, RCTC Foundation Specialist Senators David Senjem and Sheila Kiscaden Colleen Landherr Maddox, RCTC Community & Youth Programs Director Invocation Greg Frana & Guy Hamernick, RCTC Videographers Reverend Dr. Mary C. MasonSPECIAL THANKS 7:15 PM – SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS PROGRAM Dom Perignon donated by Andy’s Liquor President Don Supalla Photography by Gordon Runkle, Gordon Runkle Photography Program Design by Ads & Art Drawing of Rafﬂe Winners Printing Assistance provided by Davies Printing Introduction of Scholarship Presenters Rafﬂe Champaign and Appetizers complementary of Rochester International Event Center President Don Supalla Flowers donated by Flowers by Jerry Jewelry provided by JC Penny’s Presentation of 2011 Scholarship Recipients Video Narration by Vivien Williams Presenter Recipient Program narratives written by Dr. Donald Layton Corey Jordan, Think Bank Bridget Skyhawk Video Script written by Chellyne Hoeppner Susan Ahlquist, Mayo Clinic Skyler Arthur Randy Chapman, Post Bulletin Jennie Laabsscholarship review committee Sponsored by: Chris Braendlin, Wells Fargo Joe Lally, Delta Dental Eric Trayler Thida Boonheuan, John Edmonds, Mary Gorﬁne, Othelmo da Silva, Steve Prigge, Chellyne Hoeppner Sara SegnerRCTC STUDENT VOLUNTEERS CLOSING REMARKS Theirry Amisi, Elise Diesslin, Kady Faulhaber, Viktoriya Ishchuck, Kylie Osterhus, Mike Powell Post-Bulletin Company & Wells Fargo Senator Sheila Kiscaden
BRIDGET SKYHAWK $2,500 scholarship recipient SKYLER ARTHURBridget Skyhawk quotes Albert Einstein as saying $2,500 scholarship recipient“In the middle of every difﬁculty liesopportunity”. For Bridget, these are words to Skyler Arthur says that “everything happens for a reason” and “thingslive by as she found herself in a difﬁcult could be worse”. These mature and sobering observations come fromsituation at a critical age and has seized the a young man who concludes: “I am a survivor.”opportunity for dramatic personal growth. As an infant, Skyler nearly died three times within his ﬁrst year. He sufferedIn her early teen years, Bridget was falling into a from multiple allergies that restricted him to a diet of rice milk. Becausepattern of maladaptive behavior: running with the Skyler required constant monitoring, his mother was forced to drop out ofwrong crowd, experimenting with drugs, and averting school and the relationship between his parents became strained untilher focus from school. At the onset of her 10th grade they eventually split when Skyler was a young boy.year, Bridget had a shocking discovery: “I found myselfsitting in my bathroom, watching a little pink plus sign emerge Skyler lived with his mother, who began using drugs and met a new manon a stick – the sign that my life was going to forever change.” that would drastically change Skyler’s life. His mother became pregnant and, following the birth of a baby girl, Skyler assumed the responsibilityBeing faced with an unexpected pregnancy at such a delicate age presented unique challenges for of caring for himself and his little sister. The household became abusive forBridget, including coping with the scorn of her peers and the common belief that she could not be both Skyler and his mother until his mother and her boyfriend were arrested,a good mother and a good student. placing Skyler and his sister into foster care.The magic occurred when she ﬁrst heard the fetal heart and felt movement of the new life growing Skyler’s father was found and they were reunited. A new family was formed wheninside her. She realized she had a new and signiﬁcant role to play. Despite the harsh criticism, Bridget Skyler’s father met and married a woman who had three children. Skyler admits “itwas determined to succeed in achieving a good education and providing for her daughter Kiana. And took some time to get used to living with a new family.”she has done an outstanding job of both. A diagnosis of severe hearing loss in his right ear required Skyler to be placed in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program.Bridget has maintained and exceptional grade point average and will graduate from both Stewartville The hearing loss progressed due to a brain tumor that was discovered following a serious car accident in which Skyler wasHigh School and Rochester Community and Technical College this spring with her Associate’s degree. injured. Skyler underwent surgery at Boston’s Children hospital; however, only 80% of the tumor could be removed.She plans to continue her education by working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Skyler became preoccupied with the possibility of dying and as a result, his academic performance suffered. Her goal is to one day help young people in similar situations to, as she The tumor has been stable for nearly four years now. Skyler has learned to adjust to the hearing loss by using lip says, “navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of early adulthood reading and his grades are improving. His plans are to pursue a career in the medical ﬁeld. According to his nominator, simultaneously coupled with motherhood.” “Skyler’s strong character and integrity, sense of optimism, and ability to overcome huge obstacles will take him far in contributing to his success at the college level, in a career, and future endeavors.”
JENNIE LAABS $2,500 scholarship recipient “In spite of the hardships that many face from day to day, one ERIC TRAYLER must always strive to ﬁnd hope in the midst of despair. Having $2,500 scholarship recipient found this hope myself, I have come to realize that my life’s work will be to aid others.” – Jennie Laabs Originally from Georgia, Eric Trayler moved to Minnesota after his father became unemployed. The stress of unemployment took a toll on his parent’s relationship and their constant The ﬁrst man in Jennie Laabs’ life, her father, left when she was just eighteen arguing began to affect Eric and his siblings. In search of new employment months old. That man’s role in her life is negligible compared to that of a serial opportunities, a new climate, and a solution to their marital problems, Eric’s parents rapist. When Jennie was merely ﬁfteen years old, she was raped and nearly decided that a move may be just what they needed. killed while walking home from work. However, shortly after the move and just before Eric entered sixth grade, Following the tragic incident, Jennie coped with the physical and emotional pain that his mother left, taking a bus out of town in the middle of the night. A sad ensued, contemplating suicide more than once. Yet Jennie did not succumb to the deep and lonely Eric struggled to cope with the abandonment while striving to scars and psychological trauma of the event. Her nominator Heidi Lee, a teacher at John form friendships in his new environment. He ended up befriending the Marshall, says that “rather than letting the rape tragedy crush her spirit or become a crutch, younger brother of his sister’s boyfriend. This new friend introduced Eric Jennie has emerged a stronger person with passion and purpose.” to something that would temporarily dull his inner pain, but would ultimately send his world spinning out of control. Eric was persuaded toA manifestation of her purpose was to pursue prosecution of the rapist. Jennie testiﬁed against her attacker, try using marijuana and before too long, he was addicted and had begun toplaying an important role in putting him away for the rest of his life. use other substances, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, andJennie says that her inner strength and the support of her friends, family, and crime victims’ advocate helped prescription drugs.her immensely to deal with the aftermath of the traumatic event. Sharing her story with others by blogging Another move had Eric’s family living outside Kasson, Minnesota, where Erichas also been a source of release that has helped heal the emotional scars. Recognizing the impact of her continued on his path of drug use and delinquency. His father remarried a womanstory, Jennie has realized that she can make a difference in the lives of other victims of crime by pursuing a with whom Eric could never get along. In avoidance of his tumultuous family situation, Ericcareer as a Crime Victims’ Advocate and motivational speaker. Jennie says that “If I can help one person in spent a lot of time away from home, hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting into trouble.their time of need, then my mission in life will be complete.” Eventually, Eric’s troublesome behavior caught up with him. He was put on probation for minor consumption and required to have regular urine examinations and participate in outpatient therapy. At ﬁrst, Eric resisted. But after spending some time in a juvenile detention center, Eric began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Shortly thereafter, Eric realized that he wanted more for himself and he had the power to turn his life around. And that’s exactly what he did. Eric has been drug free since 2009 and remains dedicated to maintaining his sobriety.
Six additional students were also selected to receive Beat the Odds scholarships. We congratulate SHAVONTE BUNCH: Shavonte’s beating of the odds is a work CASEY DELIMA: Casey DeLima quotes: “Mental imbalance is athem on their commendable achievements and wish them success as they begin their college careers. in progress. Originally from Chicago, Shavonte and her family disease like cancer.” Her own depression has been severe and come from a situation of poverty and deprivation. Little was life threatening. Growing up, Casey was a nervous, lonely, andTHIDA BOONHEUAN: Thida Boonheuan’s life changed dramatically when she was just six years old. When expected and little gained in her ﬁrst three years of high insecure child. When she was just three, her father gave up allyoung Thida became sick, her parents brought her to the hospital and were given the dreadful news that school. Shavonte’s mother decided to start fresh and moved custodial rights and soon after, Casey’s mother married a manThida had Leukemia. Following the diagnosis, Thida spent considerable time in the hospital, underwent a Shavonte and her sister to Rochester, where they currently who adopted Casey. However, the marriage failed, againspleenectomy, and was required to have a bone marrow transplant. Thida’s brother, the only match, live in a homeless shelter. Due to the strict guidelines of her leaving Casey without a father and causing ﬁnancial hardshipgenerously donated bone marrow to save his younger sister. Thida recalls the constant fright and painful living arrangements, Shavonte is unable to have visitors or to and domestic insecurity for her family. Casey began to feel arecovery from the leukemia and subsequent medical procedures. participate in any extra-curricular activities. Yet she remains deep sense of hopelessness as depression set in, andAs Thida grew up, she became healthier; however she remained relatively susceptible to intercurrent resilient and according to her nominator, “she has not allowed eventually reached self-destructive levels. She attributes herinfections and complications from typically manageable illnesses. As a result, Thida was intermittently her current residence to break her spirit nor stop her from level of recovery to friends, family, and medication. However,absent from school, causing her grades to slump. Yet from these experiences, Thida has developed looking forward to all the possibilities that the future could the investment of her considerable talents in theater, art, andindependence, responsibility, and determination and has worked hard to improve her academic bring.” Since beginning at John Marshall High School, Shavonte photography, and her assumption of leadership roles haveperformance. She has learned to appreciate life, and to strive to maintain the things she values, namely her has turned her grades around and is planning on attending undoubtedly helped. Casey plans to attend the University ofhealth and education. A charmingly shy Thida still tears when recounting her brother’s courageous sacriﬁce RCTC next year. She enjoys working with young children and Minnesota to major in Italian with a minor in English as aand the results of the loving nursing care she has received over the years. It is her admirable goal to care her goal is to one day become a pediatrician to “help little kids Second Language in hopes to one day become an Englishfor others by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing at a four year university. get better and live healthy and productive lives.” teacher in Italy.SARA SEGNER: Sara Segner has proved that she is a survivor, even with the odds stacked against her. ANDREA KREY: Horses have always been important in the life RYAN LINSKEY: Ryan Linskey knows the meaning of sacriﬁce.Within a short period of time, Sara was diagnosed with four potentially life-threatening diseases. Amongst and development of Andrea Krey. She was told early on that As the son of a U.S. military service member, Ryan has learnedthese were HLH, a rare blood disease, and a type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. These diagnoses required the cost of keeping and showing a horse, an expensive to adapt to life with a part-time father. Ryan’s father, whointensive care hospitalization and drastic medicines, including chemotherapy. Following several treatments proposition, would be her unique responsibility. Due to an deployed to Kosovo for a year as Ryan transitioned into Highand many months of agonistic worry, Sara was told that she was cancer free. However, she still may require unexpected injury, Andrea’s father is unable to work, requiring School, will again deploy, this time to Iraq, missing one ofbone marrow transplantation to defend against recurrence. her mother to be the sole wage earner and putting severe Ryan’s greatest accomplishments: his High School graduation. ﬁnancial constraints on Andrea’s family. Andrea has During his father’s absence, Ryan has been a tremendous helpSara, a cheerful, outgoing, and compassionate young woman, did not let her grim prognosis keep her from maintained a job herself to help support her family, as well as to his mother at home, has maintained exemplary grades inachieving at school. Sara is currently at the top of her class and is attending RCTC as a postsecondary her hobby. Additionally, Andrea works as a teacher’s assistant school, and has volunteered his time and effort in thestudent. After these traumatic experiences, Sara recognized that her purpose was to “help others in similar at the Triton Elementary school. She describes one-on-one community. Ryan expressly relates sympathy andsituations and spread cancer awareness.” She volunteers much of her time to cancer patients and is active tutoring success as very fulﬁlling. It was this role that sparked understanding of his mother’s hardship, and that of allin cancer support groups. She plans to become a doctor and help others become cancer survivors and beat her interest in elementary education, her intended college military families. His future plans are to become a nurse, orthe odds as she has. major. Andrea also plans to minor in Equine studies. possibly a doctor.Recognition and appreciation for contributors to our spectacular silent Apollo Liquor • Lisa & Ladd Baldus • Bilottis • Canadian Honker • Cinemagic • Clarion Inn • Dicks Sporting Goods • Double Tree Eagles #2228 • Famous Daves • Golf Headquarters • Bob & Cindy Groettum • Hampton Inn • HY-Vee South • Joes Liquor & Smoke Shopauction! The following individuals and businesses (*) Donated goods Kahler Inn & Suites • Ann & Darin Knudson • Maple Valley Golf Course • MN State University Athletics • MN Vikings • Paradise Pete’sand services featured in our wonderful gift baskets on sale tonight. David Pederson • Pro Image Promotions • Rochester Golf & Country Club • Richard & Joann Rosener • Studio 52 • Walmart North
PLATINUM LEVEL $5,000+ Post Bulletin • Wells FargoABOUT BEAT THE ODDS GOLD LEVEL $2,500+ Delta Dental of MN • Mayo Clinic • Think Mutual Bank • UCare This evening we celebrate high school seniors who faced challenges and obstacles SILVER LEVEL $1,000+ Ads & Art/Davies Printing Minnesota Energy Resources yet achieved personal and academic success. Olmsted Medical Center David Olson - Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Despite such odds, these unique young people are Greg & Diane Osland Peoples Cooperative Services preparing for the next stage in their lives: attending Prosthetic Laboratories Rochester International Event Center college. Tonight’s recipients were selected from applicants Jim Russell Workforce Development Center within a thirty mile radius of Rochester and will attend any BRONZE LEVEL $600+ accredited college of their choice. This year, $12,000 will be ABC 6 News Charter Communications awarded in Beat the Odds scholarships. Clements Auto Flaherty & Hood Flowers by Jerry Gauthier Industries Young persons who receive Beat the Odds scholarships have faced a variety of Dr. Donald & Phyllis Layton McGladrey difﬁculties in their lives but all share one similarity: adults who have stepped in to Minnesota Grocers Assoc. Foundation Steve & Sharon Nigon Nupa, Inc. Pepsi Bottling Company help. Besides recognizing students, we also celebrate the adults who detected the Premier Bank Rochester AAUW struggles and reached out with encouragement, advice, resources and support. RCTC Rochester International Event Center Smith Schafer & Associates Stifel Nicolaus – Downtown Ofﬁce Tonight is the eleventh year of celebrating student success and acknowledging the Treasure Island U.S. Bank special people who make a difference in the lives of these young students. To date, U of M Rochester Veolia Environmental Services the RCTC Foundation has provided over $150,000 in scholarships to 85 Beat the Odds Wendland and Utz Whitecap Financial Group recipients. In addition, funds raised support the RCTC Foundation, its programs and Yeadon Domes projects for the College and also provide an annual stipend to Minnesota Children’s FRIENDS LEVEL $300+ Defense Fund, founder of Beat the Odds events. Afﬁnity Credit Union Terry & Linda Behrens Chestnut Cambronne, PA First Alliance Credit Union Please consider ongoing support for Beat the Odds by supporting the event again F&M Community Bank HGA next year. Also, if you know a student who is a possible candidate for a Beat the Odds Home Federal Ann & Darin Knudson Scholarship, contact Lisa Baldus at 281-7770. Qualiﬁed candidates will be high Knutson Construction Lund Tax and Accounting school students who will graduate in spring 2012. Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union McGhie & Betts Merit Contracting Mid American Financial Olmsted County Pro Image Promotions and Apparel Sterling State Bank Top Performance Sales