Heartland Community College commencement set for May 14
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[May 13, 2016]
- Heartland Community College’s 24th annual commencement takes place
Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in the Fitness and Recreation
Center on the Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road. Approximately 174
graduates are expected to participate.
A nursing pinning ceremony will precede commencement at 11:00
a.m. in the auditorium of the Astroth Community Education Center.
Founders and owners of Bellas Landscaping selected as HCC’s 2016
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
HCC alums and twin brothers, Adam and Justin Bellas, are the
College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients and will
deliver the address at the College’s commencement ceremony.
Together, the Bellases are the eighth recipients of the annual
award, which recognizes individual career achievements and positive
community impact while exhibiting Heartland values.
The Bellas brothers started Bloomington-based Bellas Landscaping in
2003 while attending Heartland Community College. To be the
successful entrepreneurs they wanted to be, the brothers made
sacrifices such as selling their “toys” (snow mobiles, dirt bikes,
etc.) and didn’t take a salary for the first three years they were
in business. Instead, the brothers put all their earned money back
into their organization.
Currently, the Bellases have a successful landscaping company. They
credit several Heartland faculty for supporting them and allowing
their business to thrive in the early years. To this day, several
professors and staff remain part of their loyal customer base.
Never forgetting their roots, the Bellas brothers often employ
Heartland students for seasonal help and internships. “We know
first-hand how difficult it can be to juggle work and a full-time or
nearly full-time school load,” they said. “We provide as much
flexibility and support to those students as possible.”
The brothers also make giving back to the community a priority,
participating in many volunteer projects throughout town. For the
past several years, their business has taken care of landscape
maintenance and snow removal for Midwest Food Bank free of charge.
They also help with the entrepreneurship program at Normal West,
their high school alma mater.
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Laura Phillips selected as student speaker
Heartland’s commencement also includes student speaker Laura
Phillips, winner of Heartland’s student essay contest.
Phillips came to Heartland experiencing relatively little change throughout her
life. “From Kindergarten through senior year I had gone to the same school, had
the same friends and did the same things,” she wrote in her essay. “I was
comfortable, but part me knew there were bigger and better things for me to do
in the world.”
Phillips credits Heartland student organizations, classes and employees for
helping her grow intellectually and socially. As a member of Phi Theta Kappa,
she feels the program challenged her academically and taught her the importance
of learning and applying knowledge to the real world. Registered student
organizations helped her from a social perspective. “I had little-to-no
experience making new friends,” she said. “There was no need to worry though,
because the welcoming environment at Heartland put me at ease almost
immediately. Everyone here, from students to teachers and staff, have pushed me
and helped me succeed.”
Outside of Heartland, Phillips is actively involved with Eastview Christian
Church and Encounter, a campus ministry at Illinois State University. After
graduation from HCC, Phillips will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at
ISU and plans to earn a master’s degree in school counseling.