Audy Leggere-Hickey, a student at Front Range Community College, is one of 20 two-year college students in the nation named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team.
Leggere-Hickey and the other team members will receive medallions and $5,000 scholarships at Phi Theta Kappa’s Presidents Breakfast during the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) convention April 24 in New Orleans. Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the international honor society for community colleges, with more than 3.2 million members in 1,300 chapters in nine nations.
An independent panel of judges from colleges, foundations, and community and national organizations selected the team. Judges considered grades, leadership activities and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
Leggere-Hickey, who attends the FRCC’s Boulder County Campus, excels in all categories.
She earned an Associate of Arts degree with designation in political science, magna cum laude, in December 2016. She continues as an enrolled student at the campus as she completes some leadership commitments in student organizations. She also has transferred to the University of Colorado-Boulder to continue her studies in political science.
She is president of Student Corp, which is the campus business club, and vice president of the campus chapter of PTK. One Student Corp project she spearheaded a summer project at the Longmont Youth Center. Student Corp members showed middle school students how what they do now, from walking dogs to shoveling snow, could be set up as businesses. Her goal is to turn this into an annual collaboration with the city of Longmont.
Leggere-Hickey is the student advisor to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. She also is the legislative liaison for the Colorado Community College System.
She also serves as chair of House District 13 (which encompasses five counties from southern and western Boulder County, west and north through Gilpin, Clear Creek, Grand and Jackson counties) for the state Democratic Party as well as serving on the board of directors for the United Nations Association of Boulder County.
At the national level, Leggere-Hickey was a Colorado delegate to College Debate 2016. Delegates from each state worked under the umbrella of the Commission on Presidential Debates to focus on issues important to students. Their work was reflected in the 2016 presidential debates in the topics of immigration, student loans, and foreign policy.
None of these things would have happened had Leggere-Hickey not returned to college. The granddaughter of Irish immigrants with grade-school educations, and the daughter of a father with three academic degrees, Leggere-Hickey has long known the value of education.
“I had been thinking of returning to college for years,” she said. “In fact, I moved to Colorado to go to CU-Boulder.”
In the interim, she worked as a restaurant server, restaurant manager, caterer, event manager, and patient coordinator at a physical therapy clinic.
Her daughters went to college first. One is a global recruiter for a corporation; another is a doctoral student in microbiology, and the third – the one who drove her to FRCC to enroll – is an anthropology major at CU-Denver.
Leggere-Hickey plans to work as an advocate for higher education after she graduates from CU-Boulder. “College is for anyone who wants to learn,” she said. “The economic barriers are too great for some to sustain their education. I don’t think college should be free – there has to be buy-in – but it should not be insurmountable.”
Leggere-Hickey’s educational path is not yet finished.
“I’m working my way toward success,” Leggere-Hickey said. “There are benchmarks that our culture has to mark success, and this award is one of them. No one is a success on their own. It takes a community to build one person. I got that support at FRCC, and I need to turn around and support others.”
Phi Theta Kappa also awards additional scholarships through the Coca-Cola New Century Scholars program, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation. As Colorado’s New Century Scholar, Leggere-Hickey receives an additional $2,000 scholarship.
About the All-USA Community College Academic Team
The All-USA Community College Academic Team is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending community college. College campuses may nominate two students for showing intellectual rigor and demonstrating academic achievement, leadership and civic growth. The program also recognizes students who extend their community college education to better themselves, their schools and their surrounding communities. The 2017 All-USA Community College Academic Team is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group with additional support is provided by Phi Theta Kappa and AACC.
Follett Higher Education Group, funder of the scholarships, is the leading provider of college and university bookstore services. Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers print and digital learning materials, retail services, library resources and school management systems on more than 1200 college campuses and across 65,000 elementary and high schools.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving more than 144,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. CCCS students save time and money with affordable tuition and fees, concurrent enrollment, and guaranteed transfer to any public university in Colorado. Online courses are available via Colorado Community Colleges Online. CCCS also oversees career and technical programs in our 13 colleges, more than 160 school districts, and six other post-secondary institutions. By partnering with business and industry, CCCS helps employers meet workforce needs and prepares students for direct entry to their chosen career pathway. The vast majority of our students are Colorado residents and, after graduation, 97 percent of our students stay in state, becoming the workforce that powers the Colorado economy and the heart of our neighborhoods, businesses, and communities.