L&C Student Earns Paul Simon Adult Learner of the Year Award

Article by: Nathan Woodside, L&C Marketing and PR,

GODFREY – The Illinois Adult Continuing Educators Association has named Lewis and Clark Community College Adult Education student Heather Conn as the winner of the 2022 Paul Simon Adult Learner of the Year Award.

William Ellington, one of her instructors, said that Conn helped create a culture of learning in his classes and worked with an unwavering dedication in the face of any challenging obstacle.

“Heather is the kind of learner who makes the learning environment around her better,” Ellington said. “She is intellectually honest. When she does not understand a concept in class, she asks for help. In this way, Heather helps her classmates learn too. She demonstrates an awareness that learning is not simply an individual exercise, but one that is best done with camaraderie.”

The Paul Simon Adult Learner of the Year Award is given to a student who demonstrates an improved life situation as a result of their learning experiences, shows leadership, maintains responsibilities outside of class, overcomes challenges and supports others. Conn was nominated for the distinction by L&C Adult Education Student Services Coordinator Julie McAfoos.

Instructor Kathy Moody said Conn’s hunger for knowledge has especially stood out.

“She is extraordinarily determined to learn the information - not just to get by but to actually learn and understand it. She also asks questions to clarify and frequently offers great comments – which helps others understand material.”

Conn said she never expected to be chosen for the honor.

“I feel like I achieved something,” she said. “Earning my GED® has brought me to where I am now. I am incredibly grateful to all of the staff in the Adult Education Department for their help, encouragement and assistance as I continue my education.”

Conn has since transitioned to taking classes at L&C’s main campus in Godfrey, on her way to earning an Associates in Business Management. Outside of class, she works as an assistant manager at Casey’s General Store in Alton.

To learn about programs offered by L&C’s Adult Education division, call (618) 468-4141 or visit