Student excellence in academics and service were recognized during Tusculum College’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, April 28.
The two top honors for students presented by the College are the President’s Award and the Bruce G. Batts Award. Simon Holzapfel, a native of Nuremberg, Germany, was presented the President’s Award and Amber Sharp, of Tazewell, Tenn., was presented the Bruce G. Batts Award.
The President’s Award is presented to the graduating senior who has contributed the most to the College and who has been the most outstanding achiever in the combined areas of academic work, athletics, campus leadership and personality. The selection is made on the basis of the student’s total four-year record at Tusculum.
In presenting the award, Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody said that Holzapfel “has excelled in what he has endeavored, whether it is in the classroom, in athletic competition or involvement in campus life.”
Holzapfel has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his time at Tusculum, earning him places on the college’s academic honors lists as well as various academic awards. His excellence in the classroom as a sport management major has also earned him the South Atlantic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year for Men’s Cross Country for the past two years, and he was named to the ESPN Academic All-American Team two years.
Holzapfel’s success athletically equals his success in the classroom. He is a two-time South Atlantic Conference Runner of the Year. He won 16 individual titles during his career, including six in a row last fall. Holzapfel closed his career with a streak of 21 consecutive top-10 finishes, a run that spanned three seasons. He also holds the records for the top 11 8,000-meter running times in school history and 14 of the best 20 in school history.
Bringing attention to Tusculum statewide, Holzapfel was honored last November with the James E. Ward Outstanding Major award from the Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, the first Tusculum student to receive the statewide award. Earlier this year, he was one of three college students selected nationwide to serve as delegates to the Alliance Assembly, the governing body of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).
Active in life on campus, Holzapfel has been involved in the Student Government Association, President’s Society, Track and Field Club, Pioneer Green Team, Alpha Chi Honor Society and the Pioneer Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He has served as a peer tutor and a resident assistant.
During the Honors Convocation ceremony, Holzapfel also received the TAHPERD (Tennessee Association Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Outstanding Major Award and the NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) Award.
Presented in memory of a beloved educator at Tusculum who helped define the college’s civic arts curricular focus, the Bruce G. Batts Award is presented to a student who clearly demonstrates the qualities that reflect the civic arts ideals.
This year’s recipient, senior Amber Sharp, has excelled academically in one of the most rigorous majors at Tusculum, athletic training. Sharp has balanced her many academic responsibilities with co-curricular activities, which include the Student Alumni Association, the Bonner Leader program, the President’s Society, the Athletic Training Student Society, Iota Tau Alpha, the National Athletic Training Association, the Southeastern Athletic Training Association and serving as a mentor for the Murdock Circle, a student living and learning community.
Sharp is serving as a co-president of the Bonner Leaders this year. As a Bonner Leader, she has coordinated successful fashion shows to benefit Greene County Habitat for Humanity. She was awarded a grant through the Bonner Foundation two years ago to create videos about Bonner activities on the Tusculum campus and in the community to promote the program.
Sharp also received the Bonner Leaders Program Award during the ceremony for her commitment and efforts with the organization.
Also presented were faculty, staff and community awards whose recipients were selected by student vote. Receiving the Outstanding Service to Students Award, a faculty honor, was Dr. Brian Davis, assistant professor of mathematics.
In presenting the award, Chuck Whitfield, chairman of the board of the Greene County Partnership, said that Davis “has made a mark in a short time at Tusculum College, gaining the respect and affection from students in the Tusculum College math program. Dr. Davis is able to bring this conceptual field of study to life for the students.”
The Staff Award was presented to Bonnie Weston, student life coordinator for multicultural affairs. In presenting the award, Student Government Association (SGA) President Erika Witt commended Weston’s dedication to assisting students and expressed personal appreciation for the assistance Weston had given her in her SGA duties.
The Community Award for exemplary service to students was presented to Cecil Mills, Jr., assistant district general for the Third Judicial District and pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Greeneville. SGA Senator Vinton Copeland, who presented the award, described Mills as a mentor and said he found a local spiritual home at Friendship Baptist Church. Copeland also noted Mills’ professional accomplishments, his varied community involvement, his numerous honors and his ministerial service. Mills was unable to attend the ceremony and the award was accepted by his daughter, Heather Gomez.
Senior Honor Key Awards were presented to students who have earned a 3.25 grade point average or higher in their major, shown achievement and aptitude in the major, and possess strong character. The following are the award recipients and their degree programs:
Art and Design – Tylan Adams of Greeneville, Tenn.;
Accounting – Luke Fullen of Greeneville, Tenn.;
Athletic Training – Jessica Figler of Merritt Island, Fla.;
Biology – Cindy Barrett of Surgoinsville, Tenn.;
Business Administration – Kiarra Ervin of Chattanooga, Tenn.;
Business Education , 7-12 – Marci Moore of Parrottsville, Tenn.;
Environmental Science – Jessica Shipley of Greeneville, Tenn.;
History – Jillean Roberts of Greeneville, Tenn.;
Human Growth and Learning, Early Childhood PreK-3 – Karnika Ervin of Chattanooga, Tenn.;
Human Growth and Learning, Elementary Education K-6 – Amber Willis of Fall Branch, Tenn.;
Mathematics – Logan Goodin of Maryville, Tenn.;
Mathematics Education, 7-12 – Josh Ellis of Rockledge, Fla.;
Physical Education – Robert Troutman of Mt. Washington, Ky.;
Physical Education K-12 – Tyler Collins of Flowery Branch, Ga.;
Psychology – Dustin Collins of Bluff City, Tenn.;
Sport Management – Cory Pratt of Morristown, Tenn., and
Sports Science – Cody Stites of Festus, Mo.
Recognized as Honor Students for having the highest grade point average of their class (all have a 4.0 grade point average) were:
seniors – Simon Holzapfel and Derek Murrell of Bulls Gap;
junior - Jennifer L. Grant;
sophomores – Addie M. Hancock of Mooresburg, Tenn.; Ashley N. Sarmiento of Dayton, Ohio; Elizabeth A. Wright of Powell, Tenn., and Luis Zamora of Santiago, Chile, and
freshmen – Anjelica R. Bailey, Antonio J. Bujana, Ryan J. Byars, John Z. Conlon, Emma L. Fain and Billy W. Leach.
Senior members of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society were also recognized. Upperclassmen who are ranked in the top 10 academically of their classmates are invited to join the honor society. Recognized were:
Emily Broyles of Chuckey, Tenn.;
Kiarra Ervin of Chattanooga, Tenn.;
Brandon Gann of Newport, Tenn.;
Devona Hamm of Adamsville, Tenn.;
Simon Holzapfel of Nuremberg, Germany;
Elizabeth McDonnell of Memphis, Tenn.;
Marci Moore of Parrottsville, Tenn.;
David Roncskevitz of Franklin, Tenn.;
Jason Seaton of Midway, Tenn., and
Amber Willis of Fall Branch, Tenn.
The Alpha Chi Academic Excellence Award, which honors the highest academically ranked member of the junior class, was presented to Derek Murrell of Bulls Gap, Tenn.
Students who were chosen for the Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prizes were honored. Students submit original, creative works in the annual writing competition, which were judged this year by award-winning poet John Hoppenthaler. The winners were: poetry – Ben Sneyd of Unicoi, Tenn.; fiction – David Roncskevitz of Franklin, Tenn.; creative non-fiction – Elizabeth McDonnell of Memphis, Tenn., and scriptwriting – Brittany Connolly of Greeneville, Tenn.,
The Dr. Shirley Beck Award for an outstanding Master of Arts in Education major was presented to CWO2 Clydie H. Shumate USN (Ret.) of Johnson City, Tenn. Shumate is a teacher at Cherokee High School in Hawkins County.
The Outstanding Education Student Award was presented to Melissa Church, a student in the bachelor’s degree program in Human Growth and Learning in the Graduate and Professional Studies program.
A new award was presented in memory of Jean Hixon, a long-time member of the Graduate and Professional Studies staff. The award was presented to Gary Glover for the Northeast Tennessee region and Bernice McClure for the Southeast Tennessee region. Hixon’s sister Anne Hall and her husband, James Hall, presented the award.
The E.H. Sargent Award in Science was presented to Derek Murrell of Bulls Gap, Tenn. In choosing the recipient, science faculty members consider overall grade point average, total hours in science and variety of areas covered in the sciences.
The Warren Lynn Drain Award was presented to Adriana Vizcarrondo,a native of Anaco, Venezuela. A graduating senior determined most outstanding in Business and Economics is presented the award and GPA and achievement are the criteria for the choice of recipient.
The Theatre Award was given to Emily Paige Hudson of Hixson, Tenn., for her participation and dedication to the theater program at Tusculum College. Hudson has appeared onstage in Theatre-at-Tusculum productions as well as working backstage building sets.
The Pinnacle Award for highest scores on annual comprehensive examinations taken by athletic training education majors was presented to Chelsea Morris of Taylorsville, N.C.; and Jason Seaton of Midway, Tenn.
The Service-Learning Award was presented to Mara Rutherford of Morristown, Tenn. Rutherford was part of a service-learning course last fall that worked at Rural Resources. Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science, said that Rutherford was always willing to do whatever needed to be done and was instrumental in a project that resulted in the creation of a mobile handwashing unit for Rural Resources.