Tonight was the end of year Celebrations for TRIO SSS at Normandale Community College. TRIO SSS is for people who are first generation, persons with disabilities and low income students, if you were wondering. This was our second annual banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of all the awesome people in the program. We started with dinner and good conversation with our peers. I just happened to be sitting next to the President of the school Joyce Ester. She showed us the new motor scooter she had bought, it looked pretty cool, It looked more like a motorcycle than a scooter though.
After dinner the ceremony started another one of my friends Dee Parker was one of the speakers. Dee is another really inspirational people who moved up here from New Orleans after Katrina. We went through the Academic recognitions for the semester. The categories are as follows:
Roaring Red: 3.0 – 3.49
Roaring Lion: 3.5- 3.99
Lion’s Club: 4.0
I happened to be in the Roaring Lion category for a 3.73 GPA for the semester. My goal with the VA is to keep a 2.5 or better, My personal goal is to keep a 3.0. I just keep on surpassing it. In the fall I was admitted to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for 2 year colleges.
The Next Speaker was Ushna Altaf a really funny and crazy Pakistani woman who is full of life and loves to crack jokes with everyone, this was her last semester at Normandale and she will be missed.
Next we had a musical performance of John Lennon’s”Imagine” sung by Sam Dylia. Even though I have the words to this song memorized, I do not think I could get up and sing it in front of a group of people and he should be commended for the job he did.
The awards came up directly after the performance, this is where I was filled with shock and amazement. The first three awards were the partner, Champion and Game awards These were given to faculty and staff. Then we got to the Most Active scholar which was won by Ushna Utaf, her fellow nominees were Yuanyuan Cui and Jackson Code. The next was the most Persistent Scholar which was won by Jenny Steck. Her fellow nominees were Chamab Nhel, Dee Parker and Amber Branch. The Last of the awards was Scholar of the Year won by yours truly JJ ODonnell with my fellow Nominees Amber Branch and Ella Komianvi. This was a shock to me, I knew I had been nominated for the award but I never thought I would win. In fact I was actually rooting for Amber or Ella, both of these women are strong, good students and have fought through their share of adversity. This is not to say I have not; I just thought that one of them should be the winner. Amber I know the most about she was my peer mentor and is my friend and just a kick ass chick. Ella I know in passing from when I worked in the diversity center, she was always so cool and very courteous. She is also the President of the BSA (Black Student Alliance) and participate in numerous other groups and activities. I was just honored to be nominated. I was not looking for anything else.
The last performance was by Joe Charley who spoke a riveting poem about being more than just what people see and encouraging people to dive deeper to get to know others of different races and cultures. It was astounding.
The Keynote Speaker was President Ester who kept her speech short and to the point. She was also still reeling from the previous speaker.
The closing words were spoken by the Head of Normandale’s chapter of TRIO Frederick MacDonald-Denis, coincidentally he is my advisor till mine gets back from paternity leave, James.
All in All this was a very interesting night for me. It was a shock to my system I am glad to share some of it with you all.
Peace Be With you all.