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Three Rio Salado Students Honored With the 2021 Chancellor’s Civic Leadership Medallion

photo left to right: Leah Troglia, Antonette Pearson and Bryce Cristiano text: Chancellor's Medallion Award Winners

Three Rio Salado Students Honored With the 2021 Chancellor’s Civic Leadership Medallion

Rio Salado College’s Bryce Cristiano, Antonette Pearson and Leah Troglia were honored with the 2021 Chancellor's Civic Leadership Medallion during a virtual ceremony held earlier this month. 

Maricopa Community College District Interim Chancellor Steven Gonzales recognized the students for their civic engagement and commitment to civic participation and leadership.

Cristiano, a 2021 graduate, received the honor for participating in the 2021 Student Public Policy Forum (SPPF). He served as moderator for a mayoral candidate forum, the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society’s “Perception of Progress” conference, and served as a PTK chapter officer. Cristiano was also the student speaker during this year’s virtual commencement ceremony. He is transferring to the City College of New York in the fall to pursue a degree in film.

“I feel honored to receive this award alongside the other amazing Maricopa College peers,” Cristiano said. “While I put in a great deal of work this year, I am constantly impressed by how active other students are in their communities. I feel that civic engagement is important since it allows us to apply our education in ways to help others. In turn, serving our communities helps shape our understanding of which degrees we can pursue to make the largest impact in our communities.”

Pearson, an active mom of nine children, is finishing the last classes to complete her associate degree later this year. As a member of SPPF, she helped organize a virtual webinar on civic engagement and was involved with local and national policy issues. She is also a member of the student executive board for the National Society of Leadership and Success at Rio Salado. Pearson was also recognized for her nonprofit work as director and founder of the Diamond Girls Rock Dynasty. Pearson created the 501(c)3 several years ago to provide arts education and services to young girls in her community. She is a member of the NAACP West Valley and advocated for SB1453. That legislation was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this month to allow community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees.

Troglia is another busy mom. She was honored for fundraising and volunteer efforts for the Marcos de Niza High School Choir & Drama Parents and Friends Club. She provided more than 140 hours of community service to the school over the last two years. Troglia also helped to raise funds for senior class activities at the Title 1 school in the Tempe Union High School District. She maintains her focus on academic excellence, as well as being a member of PTK. She completed two associate degrees this year alongside her son, Paul, who not only graduated from Marcos de Niza but also received his associate degree from Rio Salado College. Paul is a member of his high school’s musical theater program, which led to many of Troglia’s efforts.

“It’s very full circle the way everything has come together,” Troglia said. “I went back to school when Paul started high school. I finished my degree. Watching these kids I’ve gotten to know and grow with and love was amazing. To be a part of their lives was fulfilling in every sense of the word. Everything came full circle.” 

The Chancellor’s Civic Leadership Medallion is an annual award given to student leaders who have an unwavering commitment to civic engagement and demonstrate effective civic participation and leadership. In order to receive the Chancellor's Civic Leadership Medallion, students must go through an application process to demonstrate their civic engagement activities over the past year. In the application they need to provide proof of their activities and a letter of recommendation.

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