Maine Community College System Students Honored

Congratulations to the seven Maine Community College System students that were honored as the 2020 Students of the Year this week in a special online presentation.

A recording of the presentation is available on the MCCS Vimeo and YouTube channels. ( and

The students were selected by faculty and staff at their college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named Student of the Year, each student received a John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System. After John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint helped establish the fund for the annual awards.

“I know how proud (John) would be of all of you. We both would encourage you to never give up, keep pursuing your dreams, never accept it can’t be done, and always give back to society whenever and whatever you can,” she told the students. “You all have my deepest respect and admiration for all your accomplishments.”

Thank you to Maine State Board of Education member, Jana Lapoint and her late husband John Lapoint for their on-going dedication to celebrating and encouraging the accomplishments Maine students and educators, and for their tireless efforts on behalf of Maine’s education system.

2020 MCCS Students of the Year:

Marcel ChalouMarcel Chalou
Northern Maine Community College
Residence: Easton
Major: Water Treatment Technology
Career goal: Water treatment operator
Marcel grew up in Northern Maine, enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps directly out of high school, and had a 10‐ year career as a police officer. He moved back to Maine to raise his children and enrolled at NMCC to change careers and provide financial security for his family. An internship at Presque Isle Utilities District led to a full‐ time position as a water treatment operator and lab technician.

Clinton DakinClinton Dakin
Washington County Community College
Residence: Stockton Springs
Major: Engine Specialist
Career Goal: Heavy equipment maintenance
Clinton started at WCCC in 2018 and has since graduated from the powersports equipment/small engine technician and heavy equipment maintenance certificate programs, and earned his associate degree in mechanical technology. This spring he’ll earn an engine specialist certificate and plans to return this fall to study welding. He plans to enter the workforce and find employment in a heavy equipment garage close to home.

Kate McPhersonKate McPherson
Central Maine Community College
Residence: Litchfield
Major: Computer Technology
Career Goal: Mental health provider via technology
Kate chose CMCC because it was close to home, enrolling in general studies while she considered her career options. She is President of Phi Theta Kappa and works in CMCC’s IT department. Her goal is to combine her interest in psychology and skills in computer technology to help bring mental healthcare to those who can’t leave their homes. She plans to transfer to UMA to continue her education in technology.

Mason PetersonMason Peterson
Kennebec Valley Community College
Residence: Waterville
Major: Liberal Studies
Career Goal: Storyteller

Mason enrolled at KVCC as an affordable way to restart their goal of furthering their education. Mason is Founder of the Pride Alliance at KVCC, President of the Student Senate, a writing tutor, and a homeless shelter, Planned Parenthood, blood drive, and Maine Film Festival volunteer. Mason has been accepted at Amherst College and plans to pursue career options that include reading, writing, filmmaking, storytelling and more.

EthanPrebleEthan Preble
Eastern Maine Community College
Residence: Birch Harbor
Major: Human Services
Career Goal: Human services professional
Ethan chose to attend EMCC because it was affordable. He is described by others as a strong leader and advocate for disadvantaged students. He organized a suicide prevention fundraiser, worked with residential life to create a new RA position, and was a valued member of the college’s business office. After graduating, he plans to pursue a career in human services.

Billy SusantoBilly Susanto
York County Community College
Residence: Berwick
Major: Computer Science
Career Goal: Software engineer
Billy says he quickly overcame any fears he had of succeeding in college by getting out of his comfort zone and getting involved. He excels academically, is President of Phi Theta Kappa, a math tutor, a student ambassador, a member of the YCCC soccer club and served on the YCCC Presidential Search Committee. He plans to continue his education at USM to study computer science with the goal of becoming a video gaming software engineer.

Liam Woodworth-CookLiam WoodworthCook
Southern Maine Community College
Residence: South Portland
Major: Liberal Studies/English concentration
Career Goal: Literature‐related field
Liam was looking to further his education and chose SMCC because it gave him an affordable way to start. He has excelled academically and worked on the student newspaper, the student literary magazine and in The Captain’s Cupboard on‐campus food pantry. He will graduate in May and plans to continue his education in the field of writing and/or literature, while he considers his many career options.