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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Brains over brawn

Ruth Welland, English major, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was chosen to become a member of the All-California Academic Team. Evan E.Duran | [email protected]

College students Deborah Gartside and Ruth Welland have made the All-California Academic Team, a program to recognize the top academically performing students for 2012.

According to Anna Joy, City College English instructor and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society coordinator since 1998, each community college can nominate two students for the national competition; the students’ GPAs are then evaluated and ranked by a point system from the League of California Community Colleges.

Of the 68 community college students ranked in three of the All-California Academic Teams, Gartside made the first team of 22 students while Welland placed into the third team of 24 students.

“She was thrilled,” said Joy of Welland, who applied for a scholarship and was surprised to learn that she had made the team. Deborah Gartside could not be reached for comment.

Joy said scholarships ranging from $1,200 to $2,500 are awarded to those who earn team rankings after competing.

As members of the ACAT, Gartside and Welland are also in Phi Theta Kappa, an national academic honors society.

“When I opened my inbox, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, really?’ ” said Welland after learning she had qualified for the team.

In February, Welland was notified via email about the honor, which she said was “bittersweet.”

“The online application was the bitter part,” she said, adding, “I had to resolve within myself that I gave my best effort.”
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“I’m proud of myself because even though my GPA dropped last semester, I’m at the top of my class,” Welland said.

Welland said she has been attending City College since 2006, and was in and out of school for two years due to health issues. After an 18-month break from her studies to focus on her health, Welland returned to school in 2008 when she received a invitation from City College to apply for Phi Theta Kappa.

Welland, who is blind, said her disability hasn’t stopped her from pursuing an education.

“Being blind has been a blessing,” said Welland. “I only feel disabled when my fate is in others’ hands. I feel like this is a victory because of all the work I did. I did my absolute best.”

Welland said she had to keep up with rigorous deadlines and to submit eight essays in just three weeks. During that period she was hospitalized for two weeks and still managed to complete the application, in addition to meeting her academic obligations.

When her GPA dropped, that didn’t help, she said, “But I resolved within myself that I gave it my best effort.”

Welland said she plans to apply for more scholarships and hopes making the ACAT will help her with those applications.

“This has been the realization of a dream come true,” said Welland, “and I’m humbled to represent Sac City College.”

Applications are available to students at

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