March 22, 2017

Huhta selected 2017 Simon Essay winner

Courtney Huhta has been selected the winner of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) Paul Simon Student Essay Contest at Kishwaukee College. Huhta, Sycamore, received a certificate and $500 toward her Spring 2017 tuition and fees from the Board of Trustees at their monthly meeting held March 14.  Huhta’s essay will now be entered in the statewide competition to possibly earn an additional stipend to be used toward Fall 2017 educational expenses. 

The Paul Simon Essay Contest is held annually. Each community college in the state of Illinois is invited to hold the essay competition for its students, select the best essay submitted at their school, and forward that essay to the state-level competition. The essays submitted are required to be no more than 500-words on the topic How My Community College Changed My Life.  If her essay is selected as the statewide winner, Huhta will be invited to the annual ICCTA Conference in June.

Huhta crafted her essay, titled Dear Future Me, as a letter to her future self and how her experiences at Kish influenced her journey. Essays were juried by members of the Kishwaukee College English department.

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Pictured, L to R, are: Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College; Courtney Huhta; and Robert Johnson, Chair of the Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees.

Paul Simon Essay Contest – Kishwaukee College – 2017 winner Courtney Huhta:

Dear future me,

Whether you are at your dream career, or still trying to reach your ultimate goal, just remember something. Remember the place that you found your calling, the same place that you called home away from home. Kishwaukee College is where it all started for you. Even though you were timid when it came to making friends in high school, it all changed the moment when you walked into Kish.

Joining those extracurricular activities helped you develop new friendships that would last a lifetime. By joining the newspaper staff, you connected with classmates that had the same passion as you, and tool on leadership roles you thought in your wildest dreams you could never achieve. When you joined the speech team, all your public speaking fears dissolved, as you made the classroom your stage. When you became a volunteer note-taker, you helped your fellow classmates learn concepts they struggled with. Staying on campus from 8am to 10pm just so you could go to all your classes, help out with newspaper, practice with speech team, and attend all the basketball games was worth it in the end.

But most of all, never forget some of the greatest people you have met: your professors. When you took speech class and you were incredibly nervous, it was Miss Larson that worked with you to make you a better public speaker, or when you spent hours working on the final draft of the newspaper with Miss Carlson so it could be ready to print the next day shaped your determination to succeed. And at the conclusion of each semester, you were sad that you had to say goodbye to some of your favorite professors, but remembered that a new semester was right around the corner where new opportunities came your way.

Community College made you realize that although it may not have been as well-known as a university, it shaped you into the person you are today. Looking back at the two years you spent at Kishwaukee College, never forget all the staff members and classmates that helped get where you are now. It was all the help that you received from Dean Long, Dean Budziak, your newspaper family, the athletics department, and all the professors that made your time at Kishwaukee College a once in a lifetime opportunity.