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Simon, Kurasz honored as Glendale Community College’s best

Simon, Kurasz honored as Glendale Community College’s best
Ann Simon, publication specialist at Glendale Community College, left, and GCC Police Sgt. Erin Kurasz recently received the John A. Davitt Award for Outstanding Service. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

A police veteran with nearly 20 years of service and a publication specialist who’s received state acclaim were named by Glendale Community College as winners of the John A. Davitt Award for Outstanding Service.

Each year, the college selects a classified staff member and manager to laud, and those honors went to Ann Simon and Sgt. Erin Kurasz, respectively, this year.

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Both women were honored by the college’s board during its first meeting of the 2018-19 school year on July 17, and each will be recognized at the school’s Classified Institute Day on Aug. 22.

Winners receive a crystal statue, a $250 cash prize, are invited to the school’s annual retirement/recognition luncheon, have their photos framed and posted, have an article about them in the school’s Chaparral newsletter, have their name displayed on the marquee in front of the college and bookstore and will have a letter placed in their personnel file.

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“I’m humbled, really, because I don’t think of these things,” Simon said. “I don’t come to work thinking or trying to earn stuff. I’m here because I genuinely enjoy the environment and working with and for students. The fact that somebody recognized my work is just icing on the cake.”

Simon has a little over 11 years of experience at the college, rising from a part-time employee to her current position.

“Ann is the district’s graphic artist whose efforts touch virtually every corner of Glendale Community College,” said David Viar, the school’s president/superintendent, during the board meeting.

“She works with all departments and consistently provides the same work ethic and professionalism to all of her colleagues and is always there whenever you call upon her,” he added.

Simon, a Glendale resident and Hoover High School graduate, has received other honors in the past months, beginning in April when her 2017 commencement program won first place out of 114 schools from the Community College Public Relations Organization.

She also took second place for best promotional video and third place for top course catalog.

“When you hear stories and you work with students, you realize that, as a community college, especially, we get a broad range of students,” Simon said of the inspiration behind her commencement programs.

“Here they are and they’re accomplishing something and they’re here to do something and reach their dreams and, whatever I can do for them in the process — make it legible, fun and exciting — that’s what I’m going to do.”

Kurasz, a La Crescenta resident and Crescenta Valley High graduate, has had a long, distinguished career.

The former Glendale College student became the school’s first female officer when she was hired in 1999 and was promoted to the position of sergeant in 2010 as she stepped in to serve as acting captain when the college was searching for a chief.

“I was elated by the fact that somebody took the time to nominate me for this award,” Kurasz said.

“It’s a prestigious award, and I was just so excited that they really appreciate everything that I do and my accomplishments. I was very honored to receive the award, and I was surprised. I was shocked; I had no idea,” she added.

Kurasz acknowledged the polarizing times, particularly between police and the communities they serve but believes in the value of dedication.

“It is a hard time right now,” Kurasz said. “But, for me, I just feel like if I can be out there helping the community the best way that I can, whoever needs help they’re going to get my help.”

That commitment was spotlighted by Viar.

“She optimizes a community-policing philosophy and embraces the college police department’s mission to ensure student success by providing public safety and service with resolute dedication to her profession,” he said.

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