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Terra honors activists, scholars

Fremont OH: Last Thursday night was a time for Terra Community College to honor many of those who have contributed in a variety of ways to the success of the college via The President’s Reception 2005.

Honorees included:

Lydia Alejandro: The 2005 Estrella “Our Shining Star” award winner was Lydia Alejandro. Originally, Terra had planned to announce this event during Hispanic Heritage Month at a special recognition banquet but merged that event with this reception due to a lack of reservations.

Lydia Alejandro

Alejandro has been active in the Latino community since she was in her early 20s. She has worked with the Migrant Farm Worker Unit of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, inner city Toledo agencies, like Adelante Inc. and the Cordelia Martin Health Center, and currently is active in the Ohio Latino/Hispanic Health Coalition, which she co-founded over three years ago. The Coalition had just completed a successful series of conferences in Toledo, Dayton, and Cleveland concerning Latino Health issues, based upon a survey of over 2,000 Latinos.

 Alejandro, of Fremont, is also currently a full-time student at Terra where she has been instrumental in organizing a Latino Student Union. She is serving as the organization’s president. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2006 with an associate degree in social work.

Denise (Quaintance) Hirt of Fremont, was inducted into Distinguished Alumni Class. She joins 10 other Terra alums who have previously been inducted. Hirt has been the principal of Stamm Elementary School in the Fremont City School District since 2001. She was nominated by her superintendent, Donald King, and Norbert Wethington, a Terra Emeritus Retiree.

In his nomination form, King wrote that Hirt’s “innovativeness and her genuine concern for students, staff, and the public have earned her an enviable reputation as an excellent educator.”

After graduating in 1990 from Terra with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, Hirt transferred her credits to Bowling Green State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1993. She finished her Master’s in Education there in 1994, and then completed the course work for an Elementary Principal’s Certificate from the University of Findlay in 1999.

Hirt began her career in education as a junior high teacher at St. Joseph Elementary School. She then served as a Title I Reading coordinator with Fremont City Schools and became the Parent Coordinator. She also served as coordinator of state and federal projects, working as an administrator with grants, budgets and other more desk-oriented responsibilities. 

Each year, donations to the Terra Foundation support 70 to 80 scholarships for Terra students. These awards range from $500 to $1,000 per student. At the present time, this is accomplished through 24 scholarship endowment funds and 13 other scholarship funds, including the previously announced Amistad Scholarships.

Many of those contributors were at Thursday’s reception to receive a personal thank you and to meet some of the students they have helped.

 “These donations are so important to Terra and its students,” said Sue Babione, Executive Director of the Foundation. “About half of our students receive some form of financial assistance. So, the importance of the scholarship funds grows each year as state funds decrease and students bear a larger share of their educational costs.”

About 125 people attended the President’s Reception in the Student Activities Center at Terra.






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