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College of Lake County is honored to be the place where more than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. On Tuesday, April 6, the college’s Board of Trustees recognized two distinguished alumni based on their community impact and commitment to carry out the college’s values. Both are proud examples of what can be accomplished with the foundation of a community college education.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Paul Hettich leads the life of a selfless servant. After three decades of military service and five tours of combat duty, Hettich is deeply involved as a leader in local community organizations, making Lake County and better place to live. An Antioch resident, Hettich is a 1990 graduate of College of Lake County and his lifelong dedication to civic service recently earned him the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
“My life has been shaped by education, beginning with College of Lake County where I studied marketing,” said Hettich. He went on to earn receive his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, Master of Strategic Studies degree, several diplomas, credentials and professional licenses. His decorated military service demonstrates his dedication to excellence. Hettich has returned to CLC for several subsequent learning experiences, including the pursuit of his pilot's license.
Hettich continues working as a U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador in Illinois. He also works part-time as technical director for Center Stage Productions, a deputy ranger police officer for Lake County Forest Preserve in Libertyville and a court security police officer for Lake County Sheriff’s Department in Waukegan.
Cub Scout leader, parks and recreation trustee, American Legion vice commander, president of a homeowners association and fourth degree knight with the Knights of Columbus, Hettich’s list of civic duties only grows in his retirement, most of it unpaid, volunteer work.
Today you can find Becky Moran overseeing all 16 athletic programs as the athletic director at Round Lake High School, but in 1996, Moran (then Kirby) was flying across the soccer field at CLC as both player and team captain. The college is proud to award her the Distinguished Alumni Award and the college’s nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustee Association Distinguished Alumnus Award. The start of her story is like many who have walked, and have yet to walk, the halls of CLC.
“As a high school student, I was lost,” said Moran. “I did not know what the future had in store for me. My mom wanted me to go to college and I knew did not want my athletic career to end. CLC was close to home, so I applied.”
She became the first member of her family to attend college and did so while working at least two jobs throughout her CLC career to make ends meet. Though these were not the easiest of days, Moran says she learned independence, perseverance and grit from the experience. Traits she tried to instill in her players after she became the assistant coach for the college’s women’s soccer team in 1999; a position she served for four years.
“Attending CLC opened doors I did not know I wanted to walk through,” said Moran. “I was able to start my coaching career and I fell in love with it. I found my ‘why,’ which is helping others achieve at the highest level possible.”
A “why” that would not have been possible without David Beck. Beck, who became the women’s soccer coach in 1997 in part because of Moran, saw something special in her. He didn’t hesitate when he had the chance to bring her on as assistant coach.
Moran went on to serve as an assistant athletic director at several area high schools before becoming the director of athletics at Argo Community High School in 2016, and then into her current position at Round Lake High School in 2019. She serves in leadership roles with several local and national athletic associations.
“People believed in me when I may not have deserved it and I continue to pay it forward,” said Moran. “My path set me on the course to where I am today, impacting the lives of countless young people in a positive way.”
About College of Lake County:
The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake,
Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969.
The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.
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“CLC is such a welcoming environment for international students. Within my first year here, I was helping other international students as a student ambassador.”
“I rediscovered my love of chemistry at CLC. My professor was such a great teacher and passionate about chemistry that it was easy to go to class and learn.”
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“I loved my education courses. The professors bring a lot of experiences into their classrooms, and everything we learn builds from class to class.”
“The nursing skills lab at the Grayslake Campus is great because the equipment is similar to what nurses use on the job. The clinicals were also great hands-on learning experiences, and the CLC instructors have a great relationship with area hospitals and clinics.”
“I have enjoyed all the instructors in the horticulture department, especially their expertise and practical work experiences. All the classes that I have taken are pertinent to my career choice.”
“CLC's field school in Belize was my first official exposure to anthropology in general and archaeology in specific. The college's field study trips are a great way to gain in-depth exposure on a field one might be considering.”
“Really get to know your professors; they are the ones who will write you a letter of recommendation in a few years, so keep in touch with them.”
“The business expertise and management advice from my small business advisor has been extremely helpful from our first meeting and to this day. He has helped me create a clear vision for the future of my company and a detailed action plan to execute it.”
“The automotive technology program has smaller class sizes than at competing schools. That's really important, because it allows more hands-on experience and a better-quality education.”
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“The entire Illinois SBDC International Trade Center staff is an invaluable resource – always available, honest and thorough. If there is a subject outside their realm, they have a network of referrals who are experienced in that field.”
“The Truck Driver Training course built my confidence and really prepared me well for a successful career in this field.”
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“I believe that everyone in a classroom serves as a teacher and a student. I take pride in knowing that all of our communication courses have the potential to be life-changing experiences for our students.”
“To create the 'a-ha' moment in my public speaking classes, I set the pace from day one, creating an environment in which my students will feel safe and comfortable.”
“I use many different teaching methods, including: journaling, readings, oral quizzes, in-class and out-of-class activities, role plays, group discussion, media, group work and providing many examples.”
“Whether teaching online or onsite, I encourage active discussions in which students interact with each other as well as the course material.”
“When assigning papers, I encourage my students to choose their subjects carefully. If students can write about a subject about which they are passionate, they will write better papers.”
“Looking back, I had instructors who helped me to see and appreciate the joy, wonder and mystery that exists in the world all around me-whether it is in nature, science and people, or in stories, essays and poetry. I try to do the same thing for my students.”
“I teach because I want to help students imagine a better life for themselves. When they do that, they will be able to imagine a better world for all of us. And that is pretty cool.”
“I knew that I wanted to be a college instructor when I was an undergrad student at UCLA. I would come out of my English classes thrilled with the possibilities that language and literature created.”
“I find it gratifying when I stimulate the students' minds and to see how they go beyond what we do in class; some decide to pursue the subject as a future career. It is very rewarding to know that I can make a difference in students' lives.”
“I enjoy seeing my students learn and grow in their skills, knowledge, confidence, dedication and their passion for making a difference in the lives of young children and their families.”
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“I maintain an open, questioning environment that encourages all reasonable experiments. In addition, I interweave real-world experiences and practical life skills with the subject material.”
“My main goal is to connect with students in a way that motivates them to learn the material deeply, not just to pass a test. And I really enjoy getting to know students on a personal basis and helping them along the path to being an engineer.”
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“My goal is not only to teach the necessary skills involved in treating patients, but to create meaningful experiences where students can grow and develop into true professionals.”
“I want to prepare graduates to be compassionate, critical-thinking professionals who are committed to life-long learning and promote health and the prevention of disease.”
“Teaching is more than transferring knowledge. I truly want students to succeed in life and in our profession.”
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“I emphasize that professional nursing education is a continuous, life-long learning process.”
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“Helping put students in a position to make a difference in others' lives - that's what makes my job so rewarding.”
“I am passionate about inspiring new students to understand and embrace the rapidly changing knowledge base in the substance-use fields, particularly as it relates to new brain science, strength-based approaches for treatment and evidence-based practices.”
“I love seeing students' minds expand throughout the semester. The students transform through applying philosophical theories and concepts to their own lived experiences.”
“My most memorable teaching experience is to observe a student enter the program with a specific career goal in mind, and after hard work in our program, obtain a specific job working for the company of his or her dreams.”
“I want to help students become problem solvers in the computer information technology field.”
“Teaching allows me to have a profound and lasting positive effect upon the professions in the criminal justice system, especially law enforcement. I enjoyed being a police officer very much, and I strive to pass on my love for the profession through my teaching.”
“While attending high school, I joined my community's rescue squad, and I soon realized that firefighting and rescue work was my calling in life. It's been rewarding to help people who are experiencing some of the worst days of their life.”
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“What excites me most about teaching is that I get to witness, time and time again, the transformation from student to polished professional.”
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“I consider the needs of students every time I plan activities and goals for class. As a result, I utilize multiple teaching strategies, from lecture to a small-group critical thinking activity. In addition, I set and communicate high expectations and teach students how to successfully reach these goals.”
“To create the 'aha' moment in students, I always try to connect classroom topics to common life experiences and use labs and demonstrations to reinforce lectures. One learns more by doing than by hearing.”
“I try to relate course concepts directly to real life. For example, there are real-time weather discussions in my meteorology classes, where students see how the course material applies directly to the weather that affects their lives.”
“Teaching is not just about sharing knowledge, but - most importantly - inspiring students and helping them become life-long learners.”
“My main goal is to help students gain a deep understanding of the underlying concepts we are learning and move beyond the memorization of formulas.”
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“I teach using guided notes and a tablet laptop in order to keep students engaged. Writing on a tablet instead of the chalkboard or whiteboard allows me to face my class, so I can see their reactions and more easily promote discussion.”
“My philosophy of teaching can be summed up by, 'Meet students where they are. Help them move forward.'”
“A student who transferred to Northern Illinois University and took calculus classes there emailed me to thank me for teaching her to be a more prepared student and to learn math throughout the entire semester, instead of cramming.”
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“I want my students to be able to recognize the extent to which society influences most of what we do and think, but that we can also change the course of society. To achieve this goal, I often provide a range of different examples and activities. ”
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“Using genealogy and popular culture allows me to make connections for students to unfamiliar sociological theories, by utilizing something they know (their family history; favorite TV shows, or movies) as a starting point.”
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