Kendall Seacrist wins 2014 Paul Simon Essay Contest at SIC

March 24, 2014

A student essay reflecting on the flexibility of class scheduling (day, evening and online) and additional benefits of student life at Southeastern Illinois College has earned Kendall Seacrist the 2014 Paul Simon Essay award at SIC.

Seacrist aspires to make a difference in the lives of others through nursing.  She plans to complete her LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) degree and her RN (registered nurse) degree at SIC.  Seacrist was an honor student in her graduating class at Norris City-Omaha-Enfield in 1998.

Dr. Dana Keating, SIC vice president for academic and student affairs, congratulated Seacrist on her award and presented her with a $50 check.  Seacrist’s essay will be entered into the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s Paul Simon Student Essay Contest at the state level.  The winner of that contest will receive a $500 scholarship during an annual awards luncheon this summer in Normal, Ill. 

For more information on the contest, call 217-528-2858, ext. 1.


Seacrist’s essay:


Southeastern Illinois College has benefited me throughout different times in my life. In 1998, I started in pursuit of my Associate’s Degree in Business Management. Although I was not particularly excited about continuing my education, my parents had a different plan and knew the importance of earning a degree. With the flexibility, availability, and unlimited opportunities of the community college, the decision to continue my education became easier and ultimately changed the outcome of my life.

I chose to work full time and attend classes, which was made possible by the flexibility and availability of the community college scheduling. With day, evening, and online classes to choose from, I managed to earn an Associate’s in Applied Science Degree. Even as a non-traditional student, I was able to benefit from a club which helped enhance my teamwork and public speaking skills, along with teaching me how to network. Although it may have taken me longer than a traditional student, I was proud of the accomplishment and was thankful for my parents’ encouragement and the flexibility to live my life while also earning a degree.

I assumed my education was complete, until I had the opportunity of obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree through Mid-Continent University. Classes were held one night a week at SIC’s main campus. The convenience and location of this program allowed me to earn a Bachelor’s Degree within a year and a half. The format of the program allowed the class to grow together by building on our strengths and challenging each other to overcome our weaknesses. Because of this, my team building, public speaking, and networking skills increased further.

Now in 2014, as I get ready for a career change from the business to the nursing field, I turn once again to my community college to prepare me for this transition. I am choosing to continue my education to make a better future for myself and my family.  With the support of family, friends, and the community college faculty, I know there is only room for success. 

I used to be a shy, quiet person when I first enrolled in business classes at the community college. Through public speaking opportunities, classes, and networking with classmates and faculty, I have learned to be a well-rounded individual. I am now a firm believer in always continuing one’s education. Southeastern Illinois College has already changed my life for the better and is now preparing me for my future accomplishments. I look forward to beginning my next journey at my community college.