TVCC president and All-Oregon Academic Team member Hannah Berger. (The Enterprise/Liliana Frankel)

TVCC student and All-Oregon Academic Team member Chase Wilcox. (Submitted photo)

TVCC student and All-Oregon Academic Team member Maria Montes. (Submitted photo)

ONTARIO – Three students from Treasure Valley Community College have been selected for the All-Oregon Academic Team, a 45-student cohort considered the state’s brightest and most promising scholars graduating from community colleges this spring. 

“These outstanding student scholars are selected for their academic excellence, leadership and community service, and are all members of Phi Theta Kappa, the nation’s community college honor society,” explained a press release from the Oregon Community College Association. 

Maria Montes, Chase Wilcox and Hannah Berger were nominated for inclusion on the team. Berger was also nominated as a New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar, and was the only student in the state of Oregon to receive that award.

The nominated students would normally be recognized with a special luncheon in Salem, which was canceled this year because of Covid. Instead, they are being honored via a digital program. 

Berger, who is president of the Associated Student Government at TVCC, said she had won a $1,250 scholarship after applying with a set of essays and being nominated by Dana Young, the president of TVCC. The main requirement beyond her high GPA was that she be going into a trade job. 

“Originally I was just going to go to school for two years and I wanted to start my own business showing horses,” she said. “That kind of changed and evolved, and now I’m transferring to Oregon State University.” 

Berger said she now hopes to work for the Bureau of Land Management as a range manager. The job would entail surveying swaths of land and evaluating how to better them for livestock, plants, and wildlife. 

Wilcox is an online student at TVCC from Burns. A student of business administration, he plans to transfer to Eastern Oregon University this fall with the hope of later going into a career in human resources. 

“I want to just help everyone in an organization work together,” he said. 

Wilcox said that although he had missed the social aspects of school during the pandemic, his academic performance held steady. 

“(This award) means a lot because it shows that my success and all the other people who made it onto this team’s success has been recognized and is valued,” Wilcox said. 

Montes is graduating this term with an associate’s of applied science in accounting. She made it onto the All-Oregon Academic Team while working a full-time job, a second part-time job, and parenting four children. Those jobs are assistant criminalist with the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, and inspector with the Bruneau River Soil Conservation District. 

“My daughter’s awesome and she helps me a lot. She makes dinner,” Montes said. “My oldest is going to graduate hopefully this year. Between him, my daughter, my husband and myself, we get everyone where they need to be at the time they need to be.” 

Montes said she planned to continue taking classes and eventually transfer to a four-year college. 

In the meantime, she said, “the fact that I was selected – I’m honored, I’m still in shock.”

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.

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