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Labor Program Honors Work Well Done

The Berea College Labor Program held its annual Labor Awards Banquet at Boone Tavern recently, seeking to honor some of the college's most outstanding student workers, labor supervisors, and mentors.

Many students and staff members were honored at the Labor Awards Banquet.

Lesia Holder, assistant to the Dean of Labor, served as Master of Ceremony. She was accompanied in presentations by Chris Lakes; Darlene Stocker, Workplace Development Associate; and David Tipton, the Dean of Labor.

A special speaker at the banquet was Jason Miller, a 1998 alumnus of Berea College. He was the recipient of the Berea College Employee of the Year in 1998, and received the State of Ky., Midwest Region and National Student Employee of the Year as well. He spent all four years of his student labor career working in the Computer Center under Charles McIntyre, now retired, to whom Miller attributes much of his success. Now serving as a technology consultant, Miller lives in Lexington, Ky. with his wife Kristin.

Miller spoke to the attendees about Berea's Labor Program, emphasizing how the program helps students obtain successful jobs and careers after graduation, despite the fact that before attending the college they might have had limited means. It shows students "a real future with limitless opportunities," said Miller, and added that the student workers and other attendees "should be proud to be here tonight."

Following Miller's speech, Holder and Stocker presented the Special and Endowed Awards to their recipients. (A complete list of the recipients can be found below.) The presentation was followed by the three main awards of the evening: Outstanding Mentor of the Year, Outstanding Supervisor of the Year, and Outstanding Student Employee of the Year.

The awards for Mentor and Supervisor of the Year were driven by student nominations. Students wrote letters explaining why their supervisor or mentor was deserving of recognition, and the letters were then reviewed by the anonymous Awards Selection Panel, who voted on their top choices in two categories. The categories were based on the number of students supervised or mentored by the recipient.

The Outstanding Mentors of the Year were Dodie Karr from Campus Life, and Carolyn Nicely from Facilities Management. This is the first year that the Labor Program has presented the Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award. They wished to recognize and show appreciation for individuals in staff and faculty who are not designated as labor supervisors, but who still provide guidance and valuable contribution to the development of student employees within a department.

The Outstanding Supervisors of the Year were Deloris Coleman from Student Crafts, and Linda Reynolds from Public Relations. Both recipients had to show exemplary knowledge and responsibility in the workplace, and have occasionally worked beyond the call of duty.

The final award of the evening, the Berea College Outstanding Student Employee of the Year Award, went to Esther White. Viewed as "indispensable" to the EPG Program, White "continually accepts challenges and seizes opportunities with confidence." She also received the Kentucky MASEA Employee of the Year Award, and was recently selected as Berea College's nomination to receive the much coveted Truman Scholarship. Her nomination letter stated that, “Simply put – Esther is committed to making a difference in the lives of others.”

As David Tipton took the stage for closing remarks, he revealed that there was one final award in store. He called a surprised Lesia Holder back to the podium, and explained that she had also been awarded Mentor of the Year. Holder had been unaware of her nomination and it had been successfully kept a secret within her very department, in order to surprise her with the honor at the award banquet's conclusion.


The Special and Endowed Awards and their recipients were as follows:

The Building Care Award went to the Draper Building's facilities management staff, for maintaining a high level of cleanliness and quality of work for the enjoyment of the campus community.
The Labor Day Photography Contest winners were Jennifer Adkins (first place), Kristopher Hammons (second), and Emily Puckett (third), for photographs that helped "take a different look" at labor.
Danforth Creative Effort Awards went to Jared Patterson (first place), Jacob Martin (second), and Bethany Kershner and Carman Smith (sharing award for third place). The Danforth Award is meant to honor students whose products of imagination and effort have a lasting legacy beyond their college career at Berea.
The Raymond B. Drukker Memorial Award for Library Service went to Amy McNally for outstanding service in the college library.
The Wilson and Ellen Best Evans “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” Award was given to graduating seniors Caroline Twiggs (Hispanic Outreach Project) and Bartholomew Williams (Boys and Girl’s Club program entitled “One World”).
The Food Service Special Award went to Jessica French for finding fulfillment in service to fellow students.
The Clara Bell Hall Crafts Award was given to Sreirath Khieu, from the Broomcraft Department, for demonstrating academic and artistic talent and contributing to the Student Crafts Program beyond normal work assignments.
The Richard T. Hougen Hotel Management Award, meant to recognize outstanding hotel employees as selected by the Boone Tavern staff, went to Maria Karlsson and Stephanie Phillips.
The Gladys Jameson Accompanist Award was given to Dipendra Sunam, recognized as the most valuable student accompanist of the year.
The Anna Mae and Phyllis Shumaker Award, celebrating the student labor program and honoring the service and dedication of the Shumakers as a symbol of all other offices on campus, went to Jack Green. Green works for the Public Relations Department in video production.
The Sarah Fuller Smith Loom Award went to the most outstanding weaver of Fireside Industries, Mary Beth Powell.
The Margaret G. Rogers Nursing Award went to Keith DeLong, a nursing student who has done an outstanding job in his labor assignment.
The Dr. Russell I. Todd Award went to Megan Allen, who organized and implemented the Biggest Loser contest at Elizabeth Rogers as a way to assist individuals concerned with their physical wellness.

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