Every April, OCC holds a ceremony called Curriculum Honors during which we recognize the top student in each of the College’s majors. It’s one of the highlights of the year. During the ceremony a faculty member introduces each student and details his or her accomplishments, the student receives a certificate and a light blue stole to be worn at commencement, and the student is photographed with OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. Due to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, we were unable to hold our ceremony this year.
Nonetheless we are proud to recognize the achievements of our 2019-2020 honorees! We are announcing each of them in conjunction with the reorganization of our majors into 8 schools. Following are the recipients for the School of Public Safety & Community Service:
Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counseling - Tim Restani
- Liverpool High School, Class of 1982
- Faculty testimonial from Professor Lisa Dodge: “I had the pleasure of having Tim Restani in my Social Work and People with Disabilities class during the fall 2019 semester. Tim entered OCC after overcoming great obstacles in life and seeking a career change. He has an upbeat personality and a positive attitude, with an eye toward what is yet to come in his life. This is reflected in his approach to learning which included consistently coming to class and turning in assignments on time! What first stood out to me was that Tim took an unusual path to complete the course project. While other students were signing up at local agencies to fulfill their Service-Learning requirements, Tim had already decided he wanted to go rogue! Unexpectedly. He requested the opportunity to become a conduit between OCC’s Service-Learning program and community organizations who were unaware of the program and not yet participants. His mission was to “help agencies in the community meet their Volunteer needs as well as promote the future growth and development of students.” Those words are from Tim’s mission statement. His plan was to go into the community and inform people of the program and volunteer for a couple of hours at each of the different agencies. It was a success! He was able to create mutually beneficial connections between those organizations and OCC. Tim received his Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counseling degree in December 2019 and will graduate in May 2020 with his degree in Human Services. Until recently, I have had the opportunity to see him on campus several times as he continues to volunteer at OCC while also attending Empire College. Tim is motivated and driven to succeed in the Human Services field and I am confident he will.”
Criminal Justice - Luke Willis
- Baldwinsville High School, Class of 2018
Faculty testimonial from Professor Donna Stuccio: “In this day and age of the 24 hours news cycle, too often we focus on the negatives events that happen at the cost of overlooking the positives. It is with great pleasure that we have the opportunity to recognize the wonderful accomplishments of Luke Willis. Our department unanimously chose to honor Luke, not only because of his exceptional 3.6 GPA, but for a variety of reasons. Luke’s positivity, morality, and determination has served him well here at OCC, and will continue to as he proceeds on his life’s journey. Luke has been a highly motivated student, always striving to acquire a deeper understanding of any topic presented to him. His trademarks consist of a strong desire for excellence and an outstanding work ethic. It is a pleasure to have Luke in class, and the class is a better place when he is in it. Luke possesses a unique ability to clearly articulate difficult concepts. He has a burning curiosity to dive into topics that need further exploration, and is determined to find viable solutions for some of the most complicated challenges imbedded in our communities and in the criminal justice system. Whatever Luke does, he does well. His desire to excel at OCC is inspirational and a model for other students to emulate. Luke is highly focused on his career goal of becoming an FBI profiler and we have no doubt that his impact on the future of our justice system will be remarkable.”
Fire Protection Technology - Kenneth Ulrich
- Sherburne-Earlville High School, Class of 2017
- Kenneth is working full-time as an EMT. In the fall he will enroll in SUNY Cobleskill’s Paramedic program. He plans to graduate in the summer of 2021 with his Paramedic Certificate. His career goal is to be a firefighter and paramedic.
Human Services - Daphne Harrison
- Cicero-North Syracuse High School, Class of 2018
- Faculty testimonial from Professor Tina May: “Daphne Harrison is an incredibly deserving recipient of the Human Services Curriculum Honors Award for 2020. This lovely young woman has long since distinguished herself as a motivated, mature, hard-working vital part of each classroom and collective setting she graces. She was not only a valued athlete as a member of the College’s Women’s Lacrosse team, she was a strong part of the driving force that allowed them to win their first regional championship in 8 years. Prior to that success she was recognized for Distinctive Merit in her first semester based on her GPA and was in later terms named to the Provost’s List for her exemplary academic performance. In an effort to focus her energies on her sports season most fully, she completed both her 100-hour field internship a semester early and completed her Service-Learning 15-hour project the same term. As her professor in two classes that semester I can say with no reservation that her multiple responsibilities never interfered with her excellent class work and participation. In fact, classes are only fully underway when this valued member is present. In those classes her respect for classmates, her experiences and struggles set a tone that others worked to emulate. While completing all of her academic work promptly, often making use of extra credit to boost her already “A” average, she worked at the YMCA on campus and became a supervisor within 6 months. She also obtained her driver’s license in what could be her very rare spare time. When I think of this bright, strong, kind young woman, I see her carrying an oversized duffle bag, book bag, and lacrosse stick. I hear her working to accommodate her mother’s work and transportation schedule without complaint or exception. I see her only request being those that support her turning work in early to avoid missing any assignments. I hear her speak with the greatest love and respect for her mother and her grandparents in Puerto Rico. I think of the stories of her mother’s selfless hard work and life lessons, and most of all, her faith, her gratitude, and her incredible potential. As Daphne moves forward to attend Syracuse University in the fall I know that our field will have by far, one of the brightest, strongest, most solidly grounded professionals joining its ranks. Without question Daphne Harrison is one of the brightest lights to ever grace our program at Onondaga. She could not be more deserving of this recognition.”