Five current and former Richland College students were honored during Richland College’s 2015 Wall of Honor ceremony on March 26 for their outstanding academic achievements, perseverance through adversity and contributions to the community.
This year’s Wall of Honor recipients were Linda Dao, a former student who overcame adversity as a child in Vietnam and came to Richland College with virtually no English; Claudia Graves, a former student who entered and won a beauty pageant in her native Peru for a chance at a better education in the U.S.; Bill Holston, a Richland College graduate and lawyer who did pro bono work to assist those in need and is now the executive director of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas; Quentin Rhoads-Herrera, a current student and military veteran who now volunteers his time to help others; and Audrey Self, a former student who has not let a near life-ending automobile accident get in her way of success in college and in life.
Each year, nominations are gathered from members of the college community, and from these nominations a committee chooses approximately five people who exemplify Richland College’s mission of teaching, learning and community building to receive the distinction. Photos and biographies of this year’s Wall of Honor recipients will be displayed in Crockett Hall until next spring, when the next honorees will be selected.
A theme that emerged this year with the recipients was a feeling that Richland College is a place where dreams and goals can be realized with hard work and perseverance.
“When I first started going to college, I didn’t have very high expectations,” said Rhoads-Herrera. “But when I made my first A, which happened to be my first class ever, I started to realize I could do this. Currently I have a 4.0 GPA, which is a huge success for me, and I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, which really made me feel proud as it was the first time I was recognized for my education.”
Dao talked about how Richland College has always felt like home for her, not just because she both studied and worked on campus, but because the college’s library was a haven for her to relax. Holston recognized Richland College for being a jumping-off point for his 30-year law career and now his human rights work. Self came to Richland as a dual credit student, and her success earned her a full-ride scholarship to Southern Methodist University.
Graves summed the feeling up well. “Richland taught me that my dreams were possible,” she said.