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Maine Technical College System

News Release

FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, April 24, 2002
CONTACT: Alice Kirkpatrick
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 3

AUGUSTA, Maine – One is a former naval officer and single father of three whose license plate reads: “Mr. Mom.”  Another is a single mother attending classes alongside her daughter while apprenticing as a crane mechanic. Yet another is a 20 year old college student whose long list of honors and accomplishments belie his young age.

Peter LeTarte of Brunswick, Dolly Bouley of Princeton, Eric Staples of Warren – along with their peers Mark Griffard of Searsport, Gillian Fitzgerald of Washburn, Dwaine Witham of Detroit, and Christopher Ike of Old Orchard Beach – were honored today as the 2002 Students of the Year by the Maine Technical College System Board of Trustees.  The students were joined by family, friends, faculty and other members of their college communities at a ceremony at the Senator Inn in Augusta.

“What these seven students have achieved is inspiring,” said Jana Lapoint, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “They have shown determination and courage in pursuing their college degree and personal goals and we are proud to honor them today,” she said.

Nominated by faculty, staff and administration at their colleges, the award winners are selected for their academic success, campus and community involvement and, in some cases, for their ability to achieve in the face of adversity.

Each of the students was awarded a John H. Lapoint, Jr. Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000.  Mr. Lapoint was president of UF Strainrite in Lewiston and a trustee of the Maine Technical College System when he passed away in 1995.  Mr. Lapoint’s widow, Jana Lapoint, helped establish the fund for the annual awards.

Maine Technical College System 2002 Students of the Year

Peter G. LeTarte, Central Maine Technical College, Auburn

Peter LeTarte, 42, of Brunswick, is a student in CMTC’s Occupational Health and Safety program. He returned to college after a 20-year career in the navy, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer, and served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk stationed in San Diego, CA.  A single father of three, he maintains a 3.8 GPA and is one of CMTC’s top students. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Student Senate and the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Mark E. Griffard, Eastern Maine Technical College, Bangor

Mark Griffard, 53, of Searsport, is a student in EMTC’s Building Construction program. He returned to college after retiring as a Commander in the United States Army. In addition to excelling academically—he maintains a 3.9 GPA—he volunteers as a college tour guide and is active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine.  Last year he earned a gold metal in cabinetmaking in the Maine VICA/Skills USA competition and went on to compete at the national level. He serves as the student member of the Building Construction Advisory Board.

Dwaine Witham, Kennebec Valley Technical College, Fairfield

Dwaine Witham, 43, of Detroit, is a student in KVTC’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design program. Like many students, he was unsure about college, but now he is widely consider a campus leader and role model for his peers. He maintains a 3.88 GPA, is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa and serves as a peer tutor in the college’s Academic Achievement Center. In addition he has helped raise funds for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. 

Gillian Fitzgerald, Northern Maine Technical College, Presque Isle

Gillian Fitzgerald, 24, of Washburn, is a student is NMTC’s Accounting program. Despite struggling with some personal challenges—including dropping out of college briefly to help raise her siblings when a family member was ill—she has succeeded in maintaining a 3.6 GPA. She has been on the Dean’s List and was recognized as a Presidential Scholar by earning a perfect 4.0 one semester. She has volunteered for years at a local assisted living center, is a volunteer with the college’s Tax Assistance program, is a member of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society and is a volunteer for the college yearbook staff.

Eric Staples, Southern Maine Technical College, South Portland

Eric Staples, 20, of Warren, is a student in SMTC’s Liberal Studies program.  A member of SMTC’s baseball basketball and volleyball teams, he was voted most valuable player in baseball as well as SMTC’s Sportsman of the year.  In addition to sports, his honors include: membership in Phi Theta Kappa, a Coca Cola Century Scholarship winner, and a Guistwhite Scholar, among others.  He is a volunteer with the South Portland Boys and Girls Club and helped organized other community service projects. He maintains a 3.86 GPA.

Dolly Bouley, Washington County Technical College, Calais

Dolly Bouley, 41, of Princeton, is a student in WCTC’s General Technology program with a major in Heavy Equipment Operation and Heavy Equipment Maintenance. She is a single mother whose daughter Nikki is also a student at WCTC.   In addition to being a mother and college student, Dolly works part time and is enrolled in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s apprenticeship program as a crane mechanic. She currently has a 3.3 GPA and will graduate in May.

Christopher K. Ike, York County Technical College, Wells

Christopher Ike, 34, of Old Orchard Beach, is a student in YCTC’s Digital Media Technology program. He is active on the Student Senate and serves on YCTC’s Curriculum Committee. He was the driving force behind the Open Mac Lab at YCTC, and volunteers his time to help staff the new open lab hours. This year he and other student senators helped raise funds for the college’s International Community Service project, raising enough money to fund surgery to correct cleft palate syndrome in five South American children. In addition to maintaining a 3.7 GPA, he owns his own Web design business.