News Release

Student Recognized for Excellence In and Out of the Classroom

Elyse VanderSpek '08 visits with one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan during the College's WorldView series.

Elizabeth "Elyse" VanderSpek '08 of Florence, Ontario, was recently named Trinity Christian College's Lincoln Academy Student Laureate for 2008. VanderSpek was chosen for her overall excellence in, and outside of, the classroom.

Earlier this year, a committee of faculty and Student Development representatives met to consider top performing senior students worthy of this honor. From there a recommendation was made to President Timmermans, who made the final decision. The Lincoln Academy's student laureate award honors one student from each four-year institution in Illinois for overall excellence in academic and extracurricular activities. The Springfield-based Lincoln Academy not only honors Illinois' most accomplished students, but also honors distinguished citizens with the Order of Lincoln, the state's highest award. The Lincoln Academy Student Laureate is Trinity's highest individual honor.

"Since we do not recognize a valedictorian, I need to fulfill some of those roles," said VanderSpek. "Namely, I will attend the awards ceremony in Springfield in October and give the address at Trinity's Honors Convocation in May."

Academically, VanderSpek has demonstrated her excellence in the English department. She is currently working on a project with Dr. Mark Jones, associate professor of English, titled, "Is Canadian Literature Postcolonial?" and has been selected on multiple occasions to present at the student literary studies conference.

VanderSpek has let her light shine outside of the classroom, too. She spent a summer with a missions organization in Eastern Europe teaching English. She also has worked as a guide at an Afro-Canadian history museum in southern Ontario.

She is interested in attending graduate school, either to become a professor of English or, perhaps, a museum curator.

Contributing Writer - Caitlin McCarthy '09

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