College Champions Award Winners

And the 2013 winners are . . .

Award Winners for 2013

Congratulations to James Stone, Elmer Rodriguez, and Ron Kamaka, the recipients of the presidential College Champion Awards!

Eternal Flame Award 

Recognizes an employee for dedication to one or more of our core values (Integrity, Diversity, Community Building, Student Focus, Lifelong Learning, and Positive Spirit).

James Stone

James Stone,
Professor, Geography & Political Science

James Stone has made a significant contribution to making this campus a leader in environmental awareness and sustainability through creative curriculum development, student involvement, committee organization and a speaker series.

He organized the Mt. SAC Sustainability Work Group which is dedicated to promoting the incorporation of enhanced environmental consciousness and sustainable practices on campus.  The group is currently in the process of becoming an official Presidential Advisory Committee. He developed an Environmental Politics class and incorporates a sustainability component into every course he teaches which creates opportunities for learning laboratories in which students could experience models of sustainability first-hand and learn to apply those models at Mt. SAC. He also actively solicits student participation in the Mt. SAC Sustainability Committee and has sought to encourage more participation of environmentally minded students in student government.  James also organizes the annual Earth Week lecture series which has brought speakers on issues ranging from climate change and growing green jobs to sustainable architecture and water conservation. 

Environmental awareness and sustainability are important to community building because our society faces mounting environmental constraints and won't be able to function unless the issues are addressed.  By incorporating sustainability into the curriculum James has made a direct impact on campus.  He has promoted the greening of the physical infrastructure and day to day operations.  The annual Earth Week lecture series attracts people from the surrounding community which allows this organization to reach out beyond the borders of the campus to raise awareness.  Diversity is a value that James also incorporates into the promotion of sustainability on campus by working in partnership with women, minorities and students.

Professor Stone is one of the hardest working individuals on campus and this institution has benefited greatly from his work.

Burning Bright Award 

Recognizes an employee for going “above and beyond” in his or her role. 

Elmer Rodriguez

Elmer Rodriguez,
Outreach Specialist, High School Outreach

It’s quiet difficult to narrow down which Classified Award category Elmer Rodriguez best exemplifies because he does so much for students, colleagues, the community, and his family. Elmer is the epitome of the term "going above and beyond". His commitment to equality and diversity is such that he has become a driving force on campus, advocating for the educational rights of AB 540 students. His compassion for this underprivileged community of students is evident in the countless EXTRA hours outside of his work hours that he dedicates each week to AB540 students and their families. Not only does he help students and their families understand their educational rights, but he also volunteers in the community and at our local high schools as a facilitator for California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) workshops. Additionally each year he accompanies students to local conferences that focus on undocumented college student advocacy. He is always seeking current, up to date information that can best equip him when assisting students.

Elmer Rodriguez strives to be the best because he knows his students will reap the benefits of his efforts. In his own time, he often attends community conferences or workshops that focus on undocumented student's educational experiences. Elmer's commitment has given him a positive reputation among students and colleagues. Undocumented students and Mt. SAC colleagues often refer new students to Elmer because they know that he is a safe person on campus that will support students in their educational journey regardless of their status. His goal is to provide equal access to all students and to provide undocumented students with a safe and supportive college environment. He does this through student interaction and staff support. By sharing his knowledge with Mt. SAC staff on best practices when working with AB540 students, he also empowers Mt. SAC staff. He willingly provides training and information to departments that thirst for this information. You may often find him providing colleagues outside of his department with information that may assist them when interacting with undocumented youth. This among many reasons is why he is on the Mt. SAC Dream Team ad hoc, is an advisor for the IDEAS student club, and last year was named an Educator of Distinction. Elmer Rodriguez burns bright, shines bright, and students, Mt. SAC staff, and the community benefit from the light he radiates from within.

He has contributed his knowledge of best practices when working with undocumented youth by presenting at Mt. SAC conferences and outside conferences. Additionally, he provides training to Mt. SAC departments outside of HSO in AB540 awareness, California Dream Act Application, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He is attempting to create awareness of this student population throughout the campus by leading on campus conversations about this underprivileged community of students. Elmer has raised awareness and understanding of a community of students that to be honest, most Mt. SAC staff is unsure of how to service or sometimes unfortunately resistant to serving. He often tells Mt. SAC staff that is hesitant about working with undocumented students that they are students like any other that deserve to get the right information and support that will benefit them through their educational journey. I believe he is trying to make us more aware of our own biases, make us more inclusive, diverse, and compassionate.

Anyone that has met Elmer remembers him because of his kind spirit and enthusiastic energy. He is a Mt. SAC alumni, Summer Bridge Student Alumni, and prior to working as classified permanent staff in HSO he worked as student hourly employee in: Financial Aid, Bridge, and Advising. He IS Mt. SAC. He is an excellent example of someone who "Burns Bright". Elmer is an inspiration to students, Mt. SAC staff, and the community. I can't think of anyone else who burns brighter!

Torch Bearer Award

Honors contributions by an employee that have positively impacted the college community (internally or externally). 

Ron Kamaka

Ron Kamaka,
Professor, Kinesiology & Athletics, Cross Country Assistant Coach and Men’s Track & Field Head Coach 

Ron Kamaka represents what is good about Mt. SAC. He inspires every person with whom he comes in contact to give nothing less than their best in everything they do. He demonstrates daily though his actions what it is to be an educator whose integrity is beyond reproach and who shows compassion and respect to all members of the Mt SAC community. His positive attitude and boundless energy are contagious.

Ron believes with all of his heart in Mt. SAC. He believes in the programs, the faculty and the staff, but, most of all, in the students. He is very much a difference maker who embodies what it truly means to be a member of the Mt. SAC "family".
Ron is a leader on this campus. No matter where he is or what he is doing, students, faculty and colleagues all naturally gravitate toward him to ask for his help, seek his advice, or simply to chat. Each person is greeted with that welcoming smile, given his full attention, and made to feel as though they are importantand that what they do makes an impact on this campus.

Seeing Ron work during the Mt. SAC Relays and Cross Country Invitational is watching professionalism at its finest. He not only brings with him a tremendous knowledge of his sport but also an inclusive spirit. Although the majority of the work of those events is done behind the scenes and not readily apparent to the average track or cross country fan, Ron goes the extra mile tomake sure that each member of his team, the volunteers and various production staff knows the work they do makes a tremendous difference in his sport and that they are valued.

Coach Ron Kamaka is truly deserving of the Mt. SAC Torch Bearer Award.

Archive of Champion Award Winners