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Northeast Community College Students Named To Nebraska All-Nebraska Academic Team

Sarah Miller and Ryan Leiting

Sarah Miller and Ryan Leiting

Sarah Miller and Ryan Leiting

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LINCOLN – Two Northeast Community College students were recognized Wednesday in Lincoln for being named to the 2014 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Nebraska All-State Academic Team.

Ryan Leiting and Sarah Miller, both of Norfolk, joined 21 other all-state team members from Nebraska’s other community colleges in a ceremony at the Cornhusker Hotel.

The all-state academic team is sponsored by PTK – an international honor society for two-year colleges – and the Nebraska Community College Association, to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community service.

Leiting is a human services counseling and pre-professional nursing major. He plans to continue his education to obtain a Bachelor of Science in nursing. He is a student senator, vice-chair for Campus Ministry, a member of the Tau Chi Chapter of PTK at Northeast, and is on the President’s List.

Miller is an elementary education major. She plans to transfer to the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, to continue her education. Miller is a Family Formation 2nd Grade volunteer teacher, Young Adult Book Group member and Mercy Meals volunteer. She is a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, member of the Tau Chi Chapter of PTK, and is on the President’s List.

Speaker of the Legislature and former educator Greg Adams of York told the honorees that community colleges are a very important segment of Nebraska’s overall education system. “Community colleges help students, if they so desire, get to that next educational level or get into that career they aspire to. They are flexible and they are responsive to local needs and the local economy.”

Adams said, “I see that same model in the students we honor here today. They understand the importance of education at a time when the economy demands more than a high school education. The economy demands intellectual flexibility and trainability. The very fact that you finished high school and went to a community college says a lot about you. But the fact that you have risen above the rest of that population says even more.”

One student from each of Nebraska’s community college spoke at the ceremony. Leiting, a single father of a four-year-old girl, thanked his mother and grandmother for their support over the years. He also credited Northeast Community College with helping him turn his life around after he took a different path after high school.

“When I got to Northeast Community College, I thought I was going to mess up again. But I felt a whole different atmosphere when I walked onto campus. It was a fun, friendly, loving and helping environment. I feel at home there. It doesn’t only serve the community as a whole, it serves each individual. I have had teachers help me get through some very difficult times.”

Leiting said one accomplishment he is most proud of was when he made the Northeast President’s Honor List in the fall of 2012. To be named to the President’s List, a student must earn a perfect grade point average of 4.0 and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours.  “I never thought that was possible. I was a high school drop kid who messed around in class all the time. I came in with a different mindset this time around.” He has been on the President’s List every semester since.

Leiting said he is very grateful for the support he has received from the faculty and staff at Northeast Community College. “Perseverance, hard work and support from people in the community and at the College have really helped, especially with my family. I am truly grateful for my past because I wouldn’t be standing in front of you here today if all the things I went through as a child didn’t happened.  Today I embrace each day as a blessing or a lesson because we can all learn from each day,” he said.

Phi Theta Kappa, two-year college presidents, and community college state associations co-sponsor All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 32 states. All-State Team members receive special recognition including medallions, certificates, and oftentimes stipends and scholarships.

Each two-year college in Nebraska may nominate two students per campus to the All-USA Academic Team. Students from Nebraska nominated to the national team comprise the All-Nebraska Academic Team. Nominations are based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.


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The official student newspaper of Northeast Community College.
Northeast Community College Students Named To Nebraska All-Nebraska Academic Team