Jared Marcuson and Will Hodges were named Barton Community College’s 2011 Outstanding Graduates. Dean of Student Services Angie Maddy introduced them and presented their awards as they took the opportunity to address their fellow graduates during the college’s 41st commencement ceremony on Thursday.
Marcuson said he was surprised and honored to receive the distinction of Outstanding Graduate. "Three years ago, when I watched my friends graduate, I never thought I’d be giving a speech three years later," he said.
Coming from Oberlin, which is outside Barton’s service area, Marcuson said his decision to attend Barton came down to receiving a music scholarship and finding the campus to be the friendliest one he had visited. "When I came back to start classes, I knew people here already," he said. "I got involved in many things, became a Student Ambassador and took the experience I had in high school to a new level."
"My experience at Barton has been great," he added. "I wouldn’t change it for anything. In fact, I’d like to come back to campus and help students do what they want to do."
While at Barton, Marcuson served two years as Student Senate vice president and this year as president. He has represented Barton as a Student Ambassador for three years and has three times been selected for the Ambassador of the Year Award.
Marcuson has participated in Hilltop Singers and served as Bart, the Cougar mascot. Last year, he was recognized as Barton’s Homecoming King. He has been involved in mentorship and community engagement through his work with America’s Promise during all three of his years at Barton.
He plans to transfer to Kansas State University to complete a bachelor’s degree in public relations. He is the son of Elaine and Brad Marcuson, Oberlin.
Hodges, from Larned, came to Barton to play in the band and work on his major, graphic design, but slowly branched out into other interests. He joined the Technical Arts Club, which helped him explore his interest in graphic arts. Then he began to write for the student newspaper, the Interrobang, and saw a need for more photos, "so I put my hat in the ring and began taking photos," he said. The following year he became newspaper editor. Also in his second year, he joined Barton’s golf team.
"I want to tell students, you don’t have to be a carbon copy or the prototypical student to be outstanding," he said. "At Barton, I put my foot down to take a stand on growing up. I kept busy and kept my grades up by working hard day in and day out."
Hodges said, to be a member of that elite group of five or six who were nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Award was amazing to him and quite an honor.
While attending Barton, Hodges participated in pep band, jazz band, pit orchestra, Prairie Winds Community Concert Band and Prairie Winds Community Orchestra.
In addition to his graphic design, newspaper and golfing activities, he worked as a student graphic design specialist for the Office of Public Relations. He also was active in Campus Christian Fellowship.
Hodges plans to transfer to Fort Hays State University to complete a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. He is the son of Vernita Hodges, Larned.