(Photos courtesy of Kate Burrows)
Amber Gilliland, Senior Reporter
The All-Washington Academic Team is a group that honors community and technical college students for their academic success. It was created by Phi Theta Kappa, and recognizes students from across Washington state.
Students are chosen for the team by applying through Phi Theta Kappa scholarships. Two students from Pierce College Puyallup, Kaitlyn Thorley and Jeremy Cruz, have been selected to be part of the 2016 team.
18-year-old Kaitlyn Thorley’s main focus is school.
As a Running Start student, Thorley lives on her own while working two jobs and attending college. She commutes daily from Enumclaw to attend classes to earn her general transfer associate degree.
Thorley said she was debating between attending Green River Community College and Pierce. She chose Pierce because she loved the environment that college had to offer.
“I’m really glad I’ve chosen Pierce College Puyallup,” Thorley said.
Thorley has spent much of her time outside of class volunteering. She’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa, has been the president of youth groups and has volunteered at a hospital in Enumclaw.
Being chosen for the All-Washington Academic Team has been a humbling experience Thorley said.
“It’s really cool to see that people out there notice you for your academics and community service work that you do,” Thorley said.
She hopes her spot on the team will give her the chance to help others.
“I want to inspire self and others like me who don’t have good family background,” Thorley said.
Jeremy Cruz, 25, left his full-time job at a paper mill to attend Pierce College.
Cruz lives in Tacoma and was debating between attending Pierce or Tacoma Community College. After researching, he chose Pierce because of the location and the academics that were offered.
“I liked that they had two locations,” Cruz said.
Cruz is majoring in electrical and computer engineering. His knowledge of engineering began when he started to play music and record himself. This gave Cruz experience with audio engineering. When he started working at the paper mill, he was surrounded by technology and began talking with the engineers there. This led to his interest in earning a degree in the field.
In his free time, Cruz enjoys snowboarding, building robots and playing with Legos.
Cruz said he’s excited about his spot on the team and the potential for scholarships.
“The recognition alone is really awesome,” Cruz said. “Hard work really does pay off. The possibility to get money for school is huge.”
Thorley, Cruz and the rest of the 2016 academic team will be honored on March 24 in a ceremony at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. Governor Jay Inslee will be at the ceremony and students will receive medallions from their college presidents.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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