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Barton recognizes Student Ambassadors of the Year
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(From Left) The Rock Award Winner Carissa Johnson, and Ambassadors of the Year Erik Hageman and Presley Smith pose for a picture in the Barton Gym Friday as part of the commencement day festivities. - photo by Photo courtesy of Barton Community College

Barton recognizes Student Ambassadors of the Year

Barton Community College has announced its 2015-16 Brant J. Ballhorst Student Ambassador of the Year awards.  Named in memory of Brant J. Ballhorst, the award recognizes two outstanding student ambassadors each year.  The winners this year were Presley Smith of Hoisington and Erik Hageman of Abilene. 

This year marked the 12th anniversary of the award. The admissions office also honored Carissa Johnson of Osage as the recipient of this year’s “The Rock” award.   It is presented to a student who goes above and beyond the call of duty in assisting the admissions office. The award recipients were chosen by their peers and Barton’s admissions staff.

Ambassador of the Year: Presley Smith

Smith, a sophomore, is involved in Student Ambassadors, Phi Theta Kappa, and Community Service Organization and is the Women’s Golf Manager. She plans to attend Fort Hays State University in the fall of 2016 to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education.  She is the daughter of Gary and Dee Ann Smith.

Ambassador of the Year: Erik Hageman

Hageman, a freshman, is involved in Student Ambassadors, Hilltop Singers, Dolce, Concert Choir, Pep Band and Theatre. He plans to attend Kansas State University in the fall of 2016 and will major in Business Administration and Pre-Law. He is the son of Gary and Kathy Hageman.

 The Rock Award: Carissa Johnson

Johnson, a freshman, is involved in Student Ambassadors and is the Dance Team Manager. She plans to attend Kansas State University in the fall of 2016 to pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology. She is the daughter of Brent and Lisa Johnson.

About Brant J. Ballhorst and the award

From Smith Center, Ballhorst was a 2002 Barton graduate and former student ambassador. Despite health concerns throughout his time at Barton, he was the model ambassador. He balanced a challenging course schedule and golf team commitment while remaining dedicated to his role as a student ambassador.  Ballhorst was a respected peer and cherished friend of many on campus, especially the Admissions Office.  His determination and dedication touched the lives of everyone he met.

He graduated from Barton with a degree in pre-pharmacy and attended the School of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas. He was a student at KU until his death on Aug. 5, 2004. He always had a good attitude about his illness and joked that it was good education for his major.  He was the son of John and Gayle Ballhorst of Smith Center.

Barton will continue to honor Ballhorst’s achievements, character, personality and work ethic by awarding future Ambassadors of the Year in his memory.  A permanent plaque dedicated in his honor is displayed in the corridor of the Kirkman Activity Center on Barton’s campus.