College honors three Illinois Valley students

RCC student awardees Chad Free (left), Christina Garrett and RCC Instructor Bridey Mendoza-Moore
(Courtesy photo for the Illinois Valley News)

Illinois Valley, OR – Three Illinois Valley residents have been recognized by Rogue Community College (RCC) for outstanding achievement in their academic fields of study at RCC’s 43rd annual Honors Night April 28.
Christina Garrett, a Selma resident and teacher at the Dome School in Takilma, is pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education. She was recognized with the Outstanding Student in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department award, while also receiving the Sharon Marchant Award, named for a Josephine County early childhood educator. Family and friends of Marchant established the award and financial grant to support students who pursue a career in the field.
According to Early Childhood Education Instructor Chelsea Hamblin, Garrett was selected for the awards based on her dedicated studies and integrity. “She acts from an authentic place of caring deeply about what is best for young children in her community,” Hamblin said. “Christina is a compassionate and enthusiastic educator.”
Chad Free, a former Dome School teacher and O’Brien resident, is completing an associate degree in elementary education and an associate degree in general studies. He was selected to receive the Outstanding Student in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department award by demonstrating dedication to, and great promise in, the elementary teaching field.
Free currently works as an assistant for children with special needs at Evergreen Elementary School in Cave Junction. His plans include transferring to Southern Oregon University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a teaching certificate with an endorsement in special education.
“Chad has worked with children in a variety of settings and has found his passion in working with children with developmental delays or disabilities. He is a strong advocate and participant in his local community, in the field of education, and beyond,” said Bridey Mendoza-Moore, chairperson of RCC’s early childhood and elementary education department.
Kaleb Horman, of Cave Junction, received a pair of academic honors. According to Pamela Green, a program specialist with RCC’s TRIO University Transfer program, Horman was selected for the TRIO Achiever Award based on high grades, character and dedication. “He is a leader among his peers. Kaleb is both a very hard-working student and eager to offer his fellow students support, help and encouragement,” Green said.
Horman’s second honor, Outstanding Student in the Science Department, was awarded based on his scientific knowledge, excellent grades, and a willingness to help fellow students. Horman plans to complete his studies at RCC in 2024, then transfer to Oregon State University to pursue a science degree with an eye to becoming a veterinarian.
According to RCC Science Instructor Steven Crum, in addition to earning all A’s in Crum’s science courses, “Kaleb brings a very positive energy to the classroom, has a great attitude and is always willing to help others.”