Naomi Ringhand couldn’t find the perfect high school. She tried traditional school. She tried online school. But then she heard about Central Lakes College’s PSEO program, which allowed students to get high school credits concurrently with college credits.
From the moment she first set foot into the bright hallways at CLC, Naomi said she knew this was home. Flash forward to today, where Naomi will be graduating with her high school diploma, her CLC A.A. Degree and she’ll complete the CLC Honors Program (which is the most comprehensive in the Minnesota State system). She’ll also represent the CLC Honors Program as its commencement speaker.
“It wasn’t what I expected at all,” Naomi said of CLC. “I was scared when I came in, but it’s been a time of growth.”
It took time to grow, though. At first Naomi just went to class and went straight home. But when she got into the Honors Program (thanks to Honors Program Coordinator Adam Marcotte, who suggested she try it out), Naomi started getting more involved. She met other PSEO students. She started to belong.
“I loved the class sizes,” she said of Honors courses. “Honors classes were about more than absorbing content; they were about being changed and challenged by that content in a way that called us/me action.”
In her Honors Leadership course, Naomi grew out of her fear of public speaking with weekly class presentations.
“It challenged me to grow,” she said.
As time went on at CLC, Naomi got involved in Student Senate, she worked in the Learning Commons as a peer tutor, and she joined various student clubs and activities. She even used her voice to promote students’ interests to faculty and administration through academic research and represented the Honors Program to students and institutional personnel. Throughout, she kept her faith strong.
“Naomi is an outstanding student and a proven leader who uses her voice to make her community a better place for everyone,” Marcotte said. “She has earned the full confidence of her faculty and peers. At heart, Naomi inhabits the mission of the Honors Program: explore, aspire and lead. We look forward to her address at Commencement in May.”
After CLC, Naomi will attend the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she will study English and Social Studies and eventually become a teacher. Her advice to other students: “Don’t be afraid. Continue through each day, even when it’s stressful.”