College News LogoBarton Community College Honors Outstanding Graduates at Commencement

For more information, contact Angie Maddy, 620-792-9226.

May 14, 2009
Story by: Linda Jerke

Eric Degenhardt and Danielle Reisner, feted as Barton Community College’s 2009 Outstanding Graduates, were not only honored during the College’s 39th commencement ceremony May 14. They also were on the commencement program to give the keynote addresses.

As Dean of Student Services Angie Maddy introduced the Outstanding Graduates, she briefly brought out some of the individual qualities that led them to earn the distinction of Outstanding Graduates.

She said Degenhardt was praised by an instructor for his performance on exams, his level of retention and application of what he learned. One of his nominators wrote that he was always looking for ways to make a difference whether through his peer tutoring or simply by helping a student in the dorm with a computer problem.

In his speech, Degenhardt encouraged his fellow graduates to pursue happiness and gave them his ideas on how to make a happy life. His formula for happiness was “smile, savor and socialize.” He told them to fully experience their environment, notice the colors, brightness, shadows and sounds around them, smell the aromas of the world, and cultivate meaningful relationships.

Degenhardt, Great Bend, is a graduate of Ellinwood High School. A business major, he plans to continue his education at the University of Kansas. At Barton, he earned membership in Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and this year was named to Phi Theta Kappa’s All-Kansas Academic Team. He was an athlete on Barton’s tennis team and a member of Barton’s pep, jazz and concert bands. He worked successfully as a peer tutor and was named Traditional Student of the Year for Student Support Services. He is the son of Mary and Daniel Degenhardt, Great Bend.

Maddy described Reisner as the “perfect candidate.” She excels consistently in academics and was praised by an instructor as one of the most pleasant students who constantly maintains a positive attitude. She accepts her achievements quietly and with humility, Maddy added.

In her commencement speech, Reisner advised her peers to discover what a good life is and the best way to do that is through learning. She told encouraged them to find ways to give to the community through voting or helping educate others and always live with integrity and by accepting responsibility. She told them to live happily, laugh always and love passionately.

Reisner, a graduate of Hoisington High School, is a biology major also planning to transfer to KU. At Barton, she was named to Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society and earned numerous awards as a member of Barton’s forensics team. She served as a Student Ambassador and was named the Brant J. Ballhorst Student Ambassador of the Year in an afternoon ceremony on Commencement Day. In 2008, she earned the Student Ambassador Rock Award. She is the daughter of Karla and Doug Reisner, Hoisington.

Eric Deganhardt, Outstanding Graduate 2009

Eric Degenhardt delivers his keynote speech during Barton's 39th commencement ceremony after being named 2009 Outstanding Graduate. The keys to finding happiness, he said, are in smiling often, savoring the environment, and cultivating meaningful relationships.

Danielle Reisner, Outstanding Graduate 2009

Danielle Reisner advises her classmates to "live happily, laugh always, and love passionately" as she presents her keynote speech during Barton's 39th commencement after being named 2009 Outstanding Graduate.

PHOTOS: Michael Dawes

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