Students recognized with awards and scholarships at the Student Achievement Celebration

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Posted: June 8, 2015 | Written by Crystal Olmedo

Students lined up in the Bradshaw Building at Riverside City College to receive recognition for their efforts and dedication to their pursuit of education at the Student of Achievement Celebration June 8 at

RCC’s Guitar Ensemble set an inviting tone as award recipients and guests found their seats for the occasion, led by its Director Peter Curtis.

Scholarships and Student of Distinction Awards were presented to students who have demonstrated outstanding excellence in their respective disciplines.

Some students won multiple scholarships and several students received both Student of Distinction Awards and scholarships.

Isaac Williams received a Student of Distinction Award from English and Media Studies by Honors Coordinator Thatcher Carter for English as well as the Creative Writing Transfer scholarship. He will be transferring to UCLA to continue studying English. “I am excited to transfer,” Williams said. Williams aspires to be a writer and attributes his success to staying on top of his assignments and not leaving his reading or studying for the last minute. His advice to students is follow their passion in life and do something they love.

Heidy Morales, a RCC Cosmetology student, was awarded four scholarships during the event. She will be completing her Cosmetology degree in September and plans to return to RCC to complete the Instructor Training Program. “Ever since I was young I had the passion for (cosmetology). I went to Cal State San Bernardino, I did the normal and it wasn’t my passion,” Morales said. “I did communications and worked with AT&T and I just wanted to … show my kids that you can be happy and work at the same time. Not necessarily just making money to survive, but loving what you do.”

The Student of the Year Award was presented to Rakhee Uma the newly elected vice president of the Associated Students of Riverside City College. “All of the students that got chosen as a Student of distinction for any category were eligible (for this award) … RCC has some amazing students … after going through this ceremony I thought, ‘It doesn’t matter who wins they all deserved it,'” Uma said. She was also nominated as a Counseling Student of Distinction by ASRCC advisers Doug Graham and Deborah Hall for the category of Leadership.

Uma currently serves as an intern for Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. She attributes this honor to her experience in student government and with the Alpha Gamma Sigma State Honor Society which pushed her to give back to RCC and the community.

Uma expressed her respect for female students who won multiple awards and scholarships such as Megan Contreras,Yvette Salazar, Bianca Ramirez and Doraliz Miranda. “Congratulations to them. Not only are they young professional women, but they are living their dreams and they’re being honored for them.”

She also spoke of her personal experience with Blake Plante, who won the Aiko Cora Katano Scholarship from the Riverside Japanese American Citizen’s League. “I personally had the honor of working with him this year and he is a fantastic leader.”

The event was co-hosted by Virginia McKee-Leone, dean of Instruction and Jodi Julian, a RCC associate professor of Theatre Arts.

The RCCD Board of Trustees, Chancellor Michael Burke and Vice President of Student Services Edward Bush were among an audience of supporters including faculty, staff, scholarship presenters, foundation members and family and friends of students receiving awards at the celebration.

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