By Laura Brown

Triplicate staff writer

Daphne Cortese was announced the recipient of the Outstanding Scholar Award and the Presidents Award for Outstanding Scholar, Del Norte during commencement ceremonies last night.

The award was kept secret until commencement night. Sharon K. Dyer, Ph. D, Campus Vice President of College of the Redwoods, Del Norte says she really struggled with keeping word of the award quiet.

Cortese managed to maintain a 4.0 grade point average while balancing single parenthood (she is a mother of two) and a part-time job.

Cortese, had to work part time to keep her head above water, Dyer said.

Her studies were rigorous, since she focused on transfer courses. She had the fewest number of withdrawals from classes and the highest grade point average of all three campuses in the district.

This prestigious honor is uncommon among Del Norte campus students, occurring only three times in the campus history.

Cortese is interested in Special Education and teaching young people.

Along with Cortese, 24 of the 54 graduating students received honors of 3.33 or higher. One young woman, worked to complete her Associate of Arts degree while finishing up high school diploma requirements through a homeschool program. She graduated from College of the Redwoods at the young age of 18.

Of the 54 graduating students, only eight were male. Four students were out of school for 20 years or more before returning and 10 returned after being away for 10 years.

This makes the college atmosphere pretty diverse, Dyer said. The average age of people attending Del Nortes campus is 36.

In a speech given during the commencement, Dyer reminded students to reflect upon the meaning of (their) education and to continue (their) desire for more learning.