Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gateway Community College (GCC) President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick surprised Stratford resident, Kathleen Callahan at the college’s May 23 commencement in Yale’s Woolsey Hall when she announced that Callahan was the college’s Best All-Around Student for 2015. 

Callahan, 50, received an associate degree in drug and alcohol recovery counseling during the college’s 23nd commencement ceremony, and is “well on her way to establishing her professional reputation,” according to her professors.

The Best All-Around Student Award recognizes students who make major contributions to the college community and to society. Qualifications for the award include demonstrated leadership and mentoring, personal achievements, career goals, a commitment to service, participation in community and student activities, employment accomplishments and a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.   
Callahan exceeded the qualifications for Best All-Around Student with a 4.0 GPA and “constant dedication to community, leadership and a career goal of helping others overcome addiction.” According to nomination letters, Callahan is “a stellar student who has the ability to lead, motivate and mentor others.”  As president of the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor Club, she lead initiatives that brought addiction awareness and resources to the college community and worked closely multiple events on campus and in the community, including Disable the Label, Tunnel of Oppression, Fresh Check Day, Youth Congress, and several toy drives.  
Callahan transferred to GCC in 2013 to pursue both the certificate and associate degree in her field and was already named Student Leader of the Year by 2014. Not surprising, as she immediately became involved in college activities, donating her graphic arts talent and her time to events and activities to a variety of events.  
Kathleen Ahern, a counselor in GCC’s student success center says of Callahan, “I am continuously impressed by her capacity to lead while taking direction, develop new ideas and interact with other compassionately. Her ability to balance her leadership roles, involvement, schooling, internship and employment are the traits that make her the best all-around student.” 
Cher Shannon, Program Coordinator of the DARC programs notes that “Kathleen is not your ‘typical’ undergrad. She has already enjoyed a successful career. But she typifies an ‘educated’ person because she is well read, skillful and a seeker of knowledge and a deeper understanding. She is the embodiment of lifelong learning and intellectual curiosity.” 

Callahan plans to continue her studies toward a Master’s degree and looks forward to her next career as a substance abuse counselor.

“We are proud of Kathleen,” says GCC president, Dorsey L. Kendrick. “She is an example to all of us that lifelong learning is not only possible, but important and valuable.”