2016 Graduation Awards

Wenatchee Valley College graduation awards

Media Contacts: Dr. Carli Schiffner, vice president of instruction, 509.682.6605

June 28, 2015

Alberto Aramburo-Correa Tyler Sphar Dillis Burgess Ward III Anne Gardner
From left to right: Alberto Aramburo-Correa, Tyler Sphar, Dillis Burgess Ward III and Anne Gardner.


The 2016 Wenatchee Valley College President’s Medals, Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, Most Supportive Partner Award, Outstanding Graduate Awards and Academic Achievement Award were announced during the Wenatchee and Omak campus commencement ceremonies in June.

Alberto Aramburo-Correa from the Wenatchee campus and Tyler Sphar from the Omak campus received 2016 WVC President’s Medals for academic achievement, leadership and service.

Aramburo-Correa is from Cashmere and earned an associate of arts and sciences transfer degree. He started his first year at WVC as a student in the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP); during his second year, he served as a CAMP mentor and intern. He also served for two years as president of the Associated Students of WVC student government.

Prior to the start of his second year at WVC, Aramburo-Correa was one of five college students nationwide—and the only community college student—selected for a National HEP/CAMP Association Internship. He served his internship in the United Farmworkers office in Washington, D.C., with Giev Kashkooli, the UFW’s strategic campaigns director. Aramburo-Correa met frequently with Congressman Dave Reichert, researching and discussing immigration bills. During the summer before his third year at WVC, he served a second internship at the State Migrant Education Program at the State University of New York-Oneonta.

Aramburo-Correa served in the MEChA-International Club and in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Tyler Sphar served as associated student body president for WVC at Omak. He received an associate of arts and sciences degree. When he was eight years old, Sphar moved to Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, where he participated in community service projects, such as building homes, and food and blanket drives. When the Sphars returned to Omak after 12 years in Africa, Tyler began his first year at WVC at Omak working in the campus library, and he served as a freshman representative and vice president on the student council. Sphar worked to assist his community after a year of devastating wildfires by gathering donations for fire victims and arranging for speakers who discussed ecological issues at the Omak campus.

Additional nominees for the award included Hannah Capelo of Cashmere, associate in applied science-nursing; Jesus Heredia of Wenatchee, associate of arts and sciences degree; Lina Zhao Swift of Shenyang, China, associate of technical science-radiologic technology; Carina Lefave of Moses Lake, associate of arts and sciences degree; Royfel Enrique Granda of Cabimas, Venezuela, associate of arts and sciences degree; Teresa Mata-Cervantes of Malaga, associate of arts and sciences degree; Karis McPherson of East Wenatchee, associate in applied sciences-transfer degree in nursing; Bryan Michaels of Kalispell, Mont., associate of arts and sciences degree; Liang Chen of Wenatchee, associate of technical science-industrial electronics.

Dillis “Dick” Burgess Ward III received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. Ward is a 1948 graduate of WVC. He was honored for his military service, career and dedication to being involved in the WVC Alumni Association and his contributions to the community.

Ward was born and raised in Manson. He joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school and served in World War II, when he fought on Iwo Jima. After returning, he enrolled at Wenatchee Junior College. He later transferred to Washington State University, where he took courses in horticulture. He worked at Alcoa for eight years during the construction of the Wenatchee plant, and then he went into a business partnership for 30 years at Wenatchee Paint & Glass.

During his retirement, Ward has been a member of two Kiwanis Clubs, he has served as the vice commander of the Wenatchee American Legion Post 10 and he actively participates in his church and at WVC functions.

Ulyses “Ivan” Morales, of Tonasket, a Running Start student at WVC at Omak, wrote the winning essay nominating his parents, Jose and Marcia Morales, for the Most Supportive Partner Award. Prior to graduation, Omak campus graduates have the opportunity to write an essay that honors a spouse, parent, child, relative, friend, neighbor or housemate. The winning essay is read at graduation, and the recipient receives a plaque.

Outstanding Graduate Awards went to Jennifer Dosch of Wenatchee, associate of arts and sciences; Alberto Aramburo-Correa of Cashmere, associate of arts and sciences; Miranda Silvestre of Wenatchee, associate of arts and sciences, associate of technical science-criminal justice and corrections certificate; Kissimmee Anderson of Selah, associate of technical science in computer technology-network administration and computer technician certificate; Tyler Markham of Okanogan, associate of technical science in computer technology-network administration and computer technician certificate; and Patricia Cleek of East Wenatchee, associate of technical science-nursing.

Amanda Marie Brown of Tonasket, who earned an associate in applied sciences-transfer degree in nursing, was the recipient of an Academic Achievement Award at the Omak ceremony.

Anne Gardner was named WVC Professor Emeritus. Gardner, a retired math faculty member, was nominated by her peers in the math department. Professor Emeritus status is presented to a faculty member upon retirement from WVC who demonstrated an outstanding and distinguished service to the college.

Gardner was driven to improve student success during her 25-year teaching career at WVC. She consistently updated her teaching methods to respond to students’ needs. Gardner led the development of new curriculum for the Math for Elementary Education sequence, and she led efforts to add self-paced developmental math courses to help students move through pre-college math more quickly while still having the rigor and support of face-to-face courses.