Woodlawn High School Graduate is Now Kaskaskia College Success Story

June 25, 2020

Kiara Lueking is a 2017 graduate of Woodlawn High School and a 2019 graduate of Kaskaskia College where she received an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapy Assistant as well as an Associate of General Studies Degree.

While a student at KC, she was Vice President of the Physical Therapist Assistant Club and Captain of the Blue Angels Softball team. “After I was accepted into the Physical Therapy Program, I chose to join the PTA Club to become more involved and help out the community. The club was involved in helping out the community through various fundraisers, raising money for the PTA program and pinning ceremony as well as working to advocate the Physical Therapy profession as a whole.” Kiara adds that being involved with the softball team kept her busy and developed her as an individual. “I was chosen as a team captain which allowed me to become a better leader, grow as a person, and ultimately become a better PTA.”

Kiara took the licensure exam in July to get her PTA license.” I decided not to transfer to a four-year university and instead begin my profession as a PTA. I started working in June at Mulvaney Rehab Services in Mt. Vernon, IL, and was hired full-time in October.”

Michelle Wessel, Director of the Kaskaskia College PTA Program says of Kiara, “Kiara was a gifted, dedicated PTA student. She maintained great grades while playing sports and always had time to help her classmates.”

Kiara says she chose Kaskaskia College for her college education because she wanted to begin at a junior college. “Starting at a junior college is a great way to get the feel of college, save money, make awesome friends, and develop yourself as an individual before transferring to a university or starting your profession. KC is a phenomenal school filled with professors, staff, and a President ready to help you any step of the way. You truly can go to anyone at KC and find the help you are looking for. KC has a small town feel where you can get the one-on-one help and guidance, but also get a top-notch education that prepares you for whatever future you may have.”

“A lot of people come to mind when I think about people who specifically helped me along my journey. My amazing professors, Michelle Wessel and Cheryl Rushing, were willing to stay late, take a phone call, draw a picture, answer a question, or simply be a listening ear. They worked countless hours to get us ready for our licensure exam, never worrying about themselves and only focusing on us. Their hard work paid off as my classmates and I passed our licensure exams with a 100% first time pass rate.”

Kiara notes another person who made a difference in her education was Cathy Karrick. “I never met her in the hallway where she didn’t smile, ask how I was doing or if I needed anything, and never minded the fact that she might have had somewhere to be. She knows every student athlete by name, is always concerned about how they are doing, and will always help if you need anything.”

“President George Evans also had a lasting impact on me and my education. Students at most colleges don’t even know the college President, but at KC his office was open at any time to talk about anything, just say hi, or grab a SKI. It always made my day better when I would see him in the hallway, get a big smile and a loud “How’s it going?”

Pictured is Kiara Lueking.