Press Release

Three Iowa Lakes Community College students received the prestigious John Patrick “Jack” Kibbie Outstanding Service Award. Daniel Lutat, the Executive Director of Foundation and Governmental Affairs at Iowa lakes, presented the awards to Emma Kral, Christian Nichols, and Dalton Johnson at the 2021 Summer Commencement Ceremony held on July 30. Kral was the only recipient in attendance.

The John Patrick “Jack” Kibbie Outstanding Service Award, a prestigious award given in the spirit of keeping the light of service to others burning brightly in Iowa Lakes students, is presented to up to three Iowa Lakes graduating students each academic year. The three students awarded this year exemplify the spirit of service and strong leadership with significant service contributions to the community and college.

Emma Kral, from Emmetsburg, is a May 2021 graduate with an Associate of Arts degree. Kral, a scholar-athlete, consistently put the needs of others ahead of her own. Kral, a Presidential Scholar and Phi Theta Kappa member, earned All-Iowa Academic Team and Iowa Community College Athletic Conference First Team Academic All-Region recognition. Driven to help beyond sports and the classroom, Kral participated in the Student Senate, Criminal Justice Club, Jazz Band, and Handbell Choir. She is always first to volunteer and applied her talents to the Mobile Food Pantry, Toy Drives for children, Iowa Lakes athletic events, Food Assistance Drives, and Adopt-a-Highway clean-up activities. In every aspect of student life, Kral engaged energetically, with a smile on her face and a willing attitude in her heart, encouraging everyone around her to be better.

Christian Nichols, from Graettinger, graduated with his Criminal Justice degree in December 2020. Nichols is a role model who understands and lives the concept of servant leadership. Leading the Laker Life message on serving others, Nichols encouraged over 30 students to incorporate service into their daily lives. During spring breaks, Nichols served on mission trips. In Chicago, Nichols worked with children in under-served neighborhoods and helped at a homeless shelter. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled a scheduled trip, he served locally on a three-day mission trip at the College and the Okoboji Bible Conference. In addition, Nichols volunteered monthly at the Mobile Food Bank of Iowa in Estherville and weekly at his church, mentoring elementary through high school youth. Nichols also volunteered weekly at Laker Life and was a Team Amy volunteer in the fight against cancer.

Dalton Johnson, from Cylinder, is a May 2021 graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Digital, Social & Broadcast Productions. Johnson is a scholar who puts service before self. Johnson spent his summers volunteering at Hidden Acres Camp in Dayton, Iowa, serving junior and senior high school students and locally at the Okoboji Bible Conference. He supported the Mobile Food Bank of Iowa in Estherville each month and helped weekly with youth mentoring activities at his church. Additionally, Johnson led a small group of freshmen weekly at Laker Life on Thursday nights and led the Laker Life Wednesday lunches for the past two years. Johnson’s positive attitude and selflessness encouraged those around him to exemplify the same servant attitude he embraced.

Senator Kibbie is considered the ‘Father of Iowa Community Colleges’ because of his initial legislative work and is well-known for his passion for the significant contributions community college graduates have made to impact the state’s economy. Senator Kibbie served as an Iowa Lakes Board of Trustee member for 18 years and was Board President for ten of those 18 years.

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