Berkshire Community College (BCC) is pleased to announce that Amanda Garceau and Lucas Yannis-Kowalczyk have been selected as the 2011 co-valedictorians and will each provide remarks at the commencement ceremony to be held Friday, June 3rd at Tanglewood in Lenox.
Garceau, 32, currently resides in Dalton. A health fitness major at BCC, Garceau will be attending Smith College in Amherst in the Fall and plans to major in education with a minor in movement and exercise studies. She plans a career in Lifestyle and Weight Management and will teach health and fitness classes at the college level.
"I have learned there is nothing I cannot achieve, and I hope to share that freedom with those around me," said Garceau. "When someone tells you something is out of your reach, use that as motivation to reach beyond even your own dreams. For the only restriction on your success is your own inhibition."
Garceau was selected by a committee comprised of faculty and administrators for her impressive academic abilities, including a 3.97 grade point average, as well as her work on campus. She is the outgoing president of the Student Government Association and has worked with the local Relay for Life cancer-walk initiative and, as a cancer survivor herself, has twice been the Survivorship Chair for the All-college Relay for Life team.
"We've all been inspired by watching Amanda go from gaining confidence in her own potential to building support for her classmates' potential," said Frances Feinerman, BCC's Dean of Academic Affairs and chair of the selection committee. "She has become an articulate and effective advocate for community college education. Speaking up takes guts. She has that and she chooses to use her gumption in ways that benefit out students."
Yannis-Kowalczyk, 25, is a native of Silesia, Poland and currently resides in Lee. A liberal arts major at BCC, Yannis-Kowalczyk will be attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. While attending BCC he conducted two research studies, one in forensic psychology and one in behavioral endocrinology. Yannis-Kowalczyk plans to continue his research in forensic psychology as well as studying international trade and economy. Looking toward the future, he plans to pursue a PhD and become an advisor or consultant in order to influence our current policies in economy, human resources, and labor.
"My selection as co-valedictorian is a tribute to all the amazing professors at BCC who encouraged me to excel, and who were willing to share their wisdom and time so generously," shared Yannis-Kowalczyk, who has earned a 4.0 GPA while at BCC.
In addition to his academics, Yannis-Kowalczyk has volunteered with Western Mass Labor Action, Salvation Army, and Volunteers in Medicine. During his time at BCC, he was involved in the Honors Program Advisory Board and contributor to the Zine, a student literary magazine.
Dean Feinerman remarked, "Lucas has enriched every class he's been in. His excitement about learning is contagious. His appreciation of his college classes reminds us how lucky we are, here in the United States and here at BCC."
The 2011 Commencement exercises will begin at 4:30 PM on June 3rd.