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Top Clark College Students Named to the 2006 All-Washington Academic Team


A Presidential Classroom Scholar with aspirations of becoming an attorney and a National Dean’s List award recipient and future pharmacist represent Clark College on the 2006 All-Washington Academic Team. 

Sarah Craciun (above left) and Mariah Acton (above right) represent Clark College on the 2006 All-Washington Academic Team

Mariah Acton of Vancouver and Sarah Craciun of Brush Prairie will be recognized for their academic achievement and community involvement at a ceremony on March 2 in Olympia.  Each student will receive a medallion and $750 in scholarships sponsored by KeyBank of Washington and the Northwest Education Loan Association (NELA).  In addition, Clark College’s honorees will be awarded a $500 scholarship from the Clark College Foundation. 

The All-Washington Academic Team is the qualifying step in the competition for nomination to the All-USA Academic Team sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa honor society, USA Today newspaper, and the American Association of Community Colleges. It recognizes 60 outstanding two-year college students annually from around the country.  The All-Washington team is made up of 68 students representing all 34 technical and community colleges in the state. 

In announcing the selection of Acton and Craciun, Clark College President R. Wayne Branch applauded the accomplishments of both students saying, “Both students have not just excelled academically, they have amassed, at an early age, life achievements and contributions to our community which makes them very dynamic individuals.

Acton has maintained a high level of academic achievement while staying actively involved with the community.  She was appointed to the Clark County Youth Commission in May 2005, which makes policy recommendations to Clark County Commissioners, Vancouver City Council, and other community organizations.  She hones her skills as a future attorney by being active in Model United Nations, serving as a delegate to the 2005 University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference.  

As a Running Start student, Acton made the choice to spend her last two years of high school at Clark College.  It’s a decision she is proud of saying, “The courses and the college environment have molded my world perspective and developed my awareness of the human condition and will be an everlasting source of strength in the future.”

Craciun, also a Running Start student, has found success in science and math while volunteering for veterans and seniors in Vancouver.  She received an American Association of University Women award for achievement in mathematics and works as a college-level chemistry tutor.  She spends every Friday afternoon at the VA Medical Center’s In-State Pharmacy, where she packages medications for use by veterans.  The experience teaches her valuable skills to apply to her career goal of becoming a pharmacist and let’s her give back to those who served their country. 

Her studies at Clark College have prepared her for this endeavor.  “I can better relate to the veterans because of Clark College.  Many times my classmates have a difficult time with the school material, so we talk things through and encourage each other.  I’ve applied this to my volunteer work.  I always start my shift with a smile,” Craciun says. 

The All-Washington Academic Team program is sponsored by the Washington Association of Technical and Community Colleges, the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges, the State Board for Technical and Community Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the two-year college.  The recognition ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 2 at noon in the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts on the campus of South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. 

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