Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples has named Anna Loukota of Nisswa its Outstanding Business Student of the Year, 2000-2001.
The award carries with it a memorial scholarship of $1,300 given in honor of the late Paul C. Findorff, who was on the business faculty at the college.
Loukota is a second-year candidate for the associate in applied science degree in accounting.
"I am very honored," said Loukota, who is the mother of two grown sons. She said the scholarship provides her with even more incentive. "Because the award is made following teacher recommendations, it is especially nice.
"I have worked for about 20 years in banking with accounts receivable and payable, as a teller and doing a variety of jobs that are required in such positions," she said. "Now, my goal is to attain a professional career opportunity specific to accounting."
As a working mother and wife (26 years with husband Leonard), Loukota devoted resources to family and community. These commitments remain, but with the sons grown she has the opportunity to fulfill personal aspirations.
"I had wondered how it would be, going back to school after so many years," she said. "There are other adults doing the same thing. Keeping up with the work is the key."
Leonard, a mail carrier, has been highly supportive. Together, the Loukotas continue to help church youths of various ages in weekly organizational activities in Pequot Lakes.
But to be the best student she can be, Loukota schedules two to three hours each night for the course work at CLC. She is better equipped for the commitment than years ago when she attended a community college in Illinois.
"I had some keyboarding courses at Brainerd Tech about eight years ago," she added.
Loukota said she enjoys one other CLC activity, her internship in the business office, where Diane Smith, Michelle Kangas and Sherilyn Thesing are enabling her to gain practical experience.
Her instructors have also guided her through some complex materials that prepare students for success in accounting. Jeff Wig, Robert Miller, Leonard Scholten and others have appreciated the solid, low-key manner in which Loukota progresses toward her goals.
"She is a pillar in a quiet, non-flashy manner," said Miller, one of the accounting faculty leaders involved in citing top students for scholarship honors.
Wig said, "Anna Loukota is a rock-solid performer -- she represents the best of two-year college business students. Anna arrives for class every day with her work and reading completed, and always offers insightful input into class discussion. It is a genuine pleasure to have Anna in class -- she exemplifies the ideals of the Findorff Award."
Loukota has a respectable dean's list grade-point average of 3.72, and her schedule includes five classes with 18 credits toward graduation. "I know it doesn't get any easier, with taxes and tax law among the subjects to come," she said with a smile.
This summer, her plans slowed because of breast cancer surgery. "I could have picked up some credits in summer classes, but that just didn't happen," she said.
Loukota also was a recipient of CLC Foundation scholarships sponsored by First American Bank, First Bank of Brainerd and the Reuben Fordahl Memorial Fund.
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