Outstanding UCS CTE students, business partner honored
Oustanding UCS CTE students, business partner honored
Posted on 01/14/2021
Studio shot of students, business partnerTwo Utica Community Schools and a local business partner have been honored for excellence.
Akshaya Ragunath, of Stevenson High School, and Julia DeHondt, of Utica High School, have been honored through the Macomb County Outstanding Career and Technical Education Student of the Year program.

Gwyn Street, of Salus Group, has also been honored as an outstanding business partner in Utica Community Schools. 

Below are summaries provided in the award packet.

Akshaya Ragunath
Stevenson High School

Congratulations to Akshaya Ragunath. Over the past four years, it has been my distinct pleasure to work with Akshaya as a student and as an incredible young person. She displays maturity beyond her years, is highly motivated and has set high expectations for herself. Her goal is to become a physician and I am confident that she will be an excellent one.

Akshaya is driven to succeed and is passionate about her education. Akshaya consistently received the highest scores Medical Science and challenges herself with AP courses. She is highly motivated, self-driven and well-liked by both staff and students. 

In addition, Akshaya is a member of the Stevenson HOSA-Future Health Professionals club. As freshman, she placed in the highly competitive Pathophysiology Event. Last year, as a junior she won the event and qualified for the Michigan State Conference as well. This year, she is again completing in the event and I expect that she will place at the State level. Akshaya is also a member of the of the HOSA student board, assisting with setting up the club activities and events.

Akshaya has worked as a volunteer in a senior care facility, assisting with activities for dementia patients. She is currently working as a volunteer at Hurley Cats and Dogs Hospital where she is developing skills in surgery, monitoring anesthesia and cauterizing tissue.  She also worked in the school to work program as a patient care giver, assisting seniors with activities of daily living. This past summer, Akshaya took courses at the Macomb Community College to become a patient care technician, as well as a phlebotomist. Akshaya is very self-motivated to gain the academic and career skills needed to be a successful healthcare professional. She is exactly the type of CTE student that deserves recognition for her commitment to her career path.

Susan Rawling
Stevenson CTE Teacher

I nominated Julia because she represents everything one looks for in a student.  She is intelligent, motivated, responsible, humble, and compassionate.  Julia puts others ahead of herself and involves herself in a large number of activities both in and out of school.

Julia’s strong work ethic shows through daily in her performance at William Beaumont Hospital – Troy where she works in the Radiology Department through our School to Work program.  She interacts well with patients and co-workers and performs the duties of her position with the utmost efficiency. 

Julia maintains a 3.65 g.p.a. in a college preparatory curriculum.  Julia has had many of our CTE medical classes. She has completed Medical Health Science I and our Nursing Assistant class.  She is currently taking Medical Health Science II and she is certified in CPR and BLS (Basic Life Support).

Julia participates in NHS, Student Council, Key Club and SSP our Senior/Sophomore Mentoring program at Utica High School.  She also plays travel hockey for the Troy Sting 19U AA hockey league.  She holds the assistant captain role on her team.  She has played hockey for seven years. She does all this while still finding time to volunteer at the local elementary school and the Autistic Playhouse.  

Julia has demonstrated her drive to achieve her goal of entering the medical profession by excelling in her numerous classes and on the job training.  While working as a radiology tech assistant Julia has received nothing but exceptional evaluations and praise from her co-workers and supervisor.  Her supervisor comments consistently on Julia’s maturity, strong work ethic, and pleasant personality. Her supervisor stated on a recent evaluation that “…she takes initiative to assist the techs with returning patients to their rooms. She has great communication with the patients she is transporting.” I commend Julia, that with no hesitation, she took the position during these unprecedented times.  Julia comes in contact with COVID patients daily while transporting them from their rooms to the radiology department for an x-ray. Julia knows that if she wants to pursue a career in medicine, this is the harsh reality of working in the medical field. She is deciding to attend Grand Valley State University or Aquinas College, where she may continue her hockey career, and pursue a career as a physician assistant.

Julia contributes to our school district by being a positive role model for others.  Her involvement in clubs, volunteering, and a commitment to excellence in the classroom is what our district hopes for from all its students.  Julia DeHondt is the type of student that every teacher, counselor, parent, and employer hopes for.  Her positive attitude, helpful disposition, and humility are an inspiration to everyone with whom she comes in contact.

Katie Lelito
School To Work Coordinator 

Gwynn Street
Salus Group

Salus Group is a benefits consulting, brokerage and administration firm specializing in employee benefits.  Gwyn has worked as the Administration Director there for the last 6 years. We have placed between 2 and 3 students at Salus Group since Gwyn started there.

Gwyn is passionate about training our students and encourages them to explore different departments within the company based on their interests and future aspirations. The students that work at Salus group are all interested in working in the business field and help in various departments at Salus Group.  This school year Gwyn has been committed to keeping one of our co-op students during Covid and office closures. She has worked hard to create a schedule for our student that allows her to continue working and learning new skills in a safe environment.

Many of our students have stayed on as employees beyond high school graduation and worked for Salus while completing their undergraduate studies. Gwyn also has made a point of hiring an 11th grade student every year so that they can remain in the position for 2 years and help to train and mentor new interns. Gwyn is a genuine and committed partner to the students of UCS.