Honors & Awards
A Summary Listing of Honors and Awards at Colleges Around the Nation
Frieda Elston is the first to tell people that age is nothing but a number. At 45 years old, she has earned her third degree from Gadsden State Community College (Alabama) and is pursuing her “dream career” of being a registered nurse. Elston and 40 others received their registered nursing pins at the Beck Conference Center on the Wallace Drive Campus. The group also graduated with associate in applied science degrees on Aug. 9 at Word Alive Church in Oxford. Elston graduated from Munford High School in 1991 before enrolling at Gadsden State. She earned her associate degree in medical laboratory technology in 1993. For the next 25 years, she worked as a medical lab technician at medical centers, clinics and doctor’s offices. She currently works for Hematology and Oncology Associates of Alabama in Gadsden. With the seed to pursue nursing already planted, she saw a Facebook advertisement about the Nights Online Weekends Program at Gadsden State Cherokee. The program allows nursing students to take classes and complete clinical training at night, online and on the weekends. The flexibility of the program allows students to work fulltime and take care of their families while pursuing a college education. Elston earned an associate degree in licensed practical nursing in 2017 before continuing her education to become a registered nurse. Elston worked eight hours a day in the medical lab at HOAA. Two days a week, she went to the Gadsden State campus in Centre to take classes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. before making the hourdrive home to Wellington in Calhoun County. She also had to complete clinical training at several healthcare facilities, including Children’s of Alabama, Cherokee Health and Rehabilitation Center, Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Riverview Regional Medical Center and Mountainview Hospital. Through the long days and challenging classes, Elston’s determination never wavered. She said she was motivated by her children, Cedric, 14, a freshman at Alexandria High School, and Aerial, 21, a retail employee.
Central Arizona College was recently named the 2017 Support Project of the Year award recipient by Sundt Construction, recognizing the Craft Workforce Development partnership between CAC and Sundt. In the spring of 2016, Sundt Construction approached CAC to explore an apprenticeship partnership in heavy equipment operations. During these discussions, a larger gap in available skilled workers emerged, leading Sundt and CAC to conclude that expanding the partnership beyond the apprenticeship was necessary and warranted. In order to meet the growing needs of commercial construction, CAC administrators worked with Sundt leadership to develop four craft trade pathways in structural welding, concrete technology, pipefitting and industrial construction technology. Sundt and CAC designed every aspect of the courses and programs jointly. The process started by identifying the specific craft competencies and skills needed by Sundt and ended with five customized and tailored academic pathways. This has led to a true partnership where Sundt provides instructors for two of the pathways and equipment for pipefitting and welding, and CAC furnishes on-site lab space and instruction. CAC and Sundt built these pathways in less than three months, which enabled students to begin coursework in August 2017. To date, 115 students have enrolled in Industrial Carpentry, Welding, Pipe Fitting, Heavy Equipment Operator and the Operator Apprenticeship program offerings at CAC, with 30 percent of the students successfully completing their program of study this past spring. Those not completing are continuing their studies this fall. The partnership between Sundt and CAC continues to grow. Sundt hired an Industrial Carpentry Instructor and now has three adjunct instructors at CAC, while the college has added an additional professor and full time recruiter. From the beginning of the program, Sundt has donated a pipe wall, concrete pad, industrial concrete tools, GPS system, backpacks and hard hats, and GPS-SiteTech Training.
Mid-Plains Community College rodeo team coach Dustin Elliott will be inducted into the Chadron State College Athletic Hall of Fame. Elliott is one of eight former CSC athletes chosen for the prestigious honor. Alex Helmbrecht, co-chair of the Hall of Fame committee, said Elliott’s selection was a unanimous decision among committee members. “Dustin excelled as a bull rider for CSC, and he brought notoriety to the college and its rodeo program while he was a student,” said Helmbrecht. “Dustin has continued to honor Chadron State College as a professional, and the committee is eager to formally recognize him during the ceremony.” Elliott and fellow inductee Will Farrell won three out of four national bull riding titles for CSC during the time they were in college. Farrell was the champion in 1999 and 2002, and Elliott took home top honors in 2001. Elliott’s history with rodeo, however, began long before he entered the collegiate arena. His father was a formidable competitor in both rough stock and timed events at amateur rodeos. When Elliott stumbled across his dad’s gear bag at age 10, it fueled a passion that would eventually make him a household name. Elliott began riding calves when he was in fifth grade, advanced to steers and then to bulls upon entering high school rodeos. He earned a scholarship to CSC after becoming the Oregon High School Rodeo Finals bull riding champion in 1999.While at Chadron, Elliott qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo three times. He won as a sophomore after riding all four of the bulls he drew. Elliott turned pro while still in college then went on to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo four times and the Professional Bull Riders World Finals five times. He made it to both finals in 2010 — a rare accomplishment in the sport of professional rodeo. His greatest achievement came in 2004 when he won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Championship. He finished fourth in the national standings each of the next two years and spent four years on the PBR’s Top 15 list. When not working on the family ranch or conducting bull riding clinics across the country, he can be found coaching up-and-coming athletes on the Mid- Plains Community College Rodeo Team.