Older sisters set pace for Hale Award recipient Canaveral

  • Deana Canaveral

Coming out of high school, Deana Canaveral didn’t need much prodding to come to Morton College. She had two older sisters who both were top-notch students with an extensive list of extracurricular activities to boot.

“I knew how involved they were on campus,” said Deana of her two sisters, Laura and Anna. “I’d go on campus to see the environment and how much fun they were able to have. I fell in love with it.”

The Berwyn resident, the youngest of four, lived up to the reputation people around Morton College associate with the Canaveral name. Deana left Morton College on a note of glory at this year’s Commencement ceremony when selected as the recipient of the Robert M. Hale Award for Academic Excellence.

The Hale Award goes to the student completing a degree program in two years with the highest grade-point average. The winner is announced at the Commencement ceremony, making the award that much more special.

“I was very surprised and also in awe,” Deana said. “I didn’t know the award was so big. It was a nice surprise for me and my family as well.”

In addition to her academic success, Deana also was president of Morton College’s Student Government Association and treasurer of the HOPE Scholarship committee, which provides scholarships for students unable to receive federal financial aid. She also was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honors society for community college students.

While adversity came Deana’s way, she handled it with grace and dignity. She was attempting to become the third Canaveral in four years to serve as Student Trustee, but lost the election.

Deana wrote about her experiences in The Collegian with a wonderful piece called, “Moving Past the Elections.”

“As long as I tried and did my best, that was the way I saw it,” Deana said. “As I look back on it, I am happy I didn’t end up winning because it would have taken me on a different path. When I became president of SGA, I was happy to get that one because it was still a leadership position.”

Morton College also provided Deana the opportunity to find her career path. She was considering a career in entrepreneurship and took a course in Financial Accounting.

“I took the class to see what it was like,” Deana said. “I understood it and did well in the class, but I didn’t fall in love with it. I didn’t want it to be my major. I always have had an interest in medicine, so I decided to go for that.”

When Canaveral enrolls at UIC this fall, she will be studying biology with a focus in pre-med. Her goal is to become a pediatrician.

Deana will look back at her time at Morton College with fond memories. She appreciated being challenged in John Baffa’s English course and named Robert Wood (psychology), Steve Ginley (speech) and Dr. Sara Helmus (biology) as some of the many outstanding faculty members Deana encountered.

“I had really, really great teachers across the board,” Deana said. “I definitely enjoyed all the time I spent with staff and faculty. They were amazing.”

Deana will miss Morton College greatly, but always will appreciated all the Morton College community did for her. She is confident that her two years at Morton College will have her well prepared for UIC.

“I can describe my time here at Morton College as very, very beneficial,” Deana said. “I did my best to follow in my sisters’ footsteps. They’re super-hard workers who always strove for A’s. I’m glad that I could live up to what they did and do this for me, my family and my community, including Morton College.”