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Lake Land College students awarded for ‘Paying It Forward’

Three Lake Land College students recently won prizes for participating in a social media campaign, sponsored by the Lake Land College Foundation and Communications and Creative Services Department.

“Pay It Forward at Lake Land College” launched in November and students had the opportunity to submit a story about their random act of kindness through the month of December. The stories were then anonymously posted to the college’s Pay It Forward Facebook page and community members voted for their favorite submissions.

Nursing student, Anna Shelton of Effingham, won first place in the contest and was awarded tuition assistance through the Lake Land College Foundation. According to Shelton, participating in the contest was a great way to be involved at Lake Land and a way to help her pay for her spring semester.

“As a student who is working two part-time jobs to pay for my education, this was a huge help,” said Shelton. “I feel fortunate for being able to share how the idea of paying it forward has influenced my life.”

Taking home second place in the contest was office management student, Linda Hood of St. Elmo, who won an Amazon Kindle. Third place went to nursing student, Toby Austin of Mattoon, who won an iPod Shuffle. One winner was selected from community participants who submitted their vote via Facebook and Courtney White of Effingham was selected as the winner. She was awarded a gas card.

“This contest was a great way to illustrate all of the wonderful things our Lake Land students are doing in their communities,” said Dave Cox, director of the foundation and alumni. “Caring is a core value at Lake Land College and this was a nice way to recognize those Lakers who help others with no expectation of return.”

Below are the winning submissions:

Shelton, Anna

Anna Shelton of Effingham recently won first place in a social media contest, “Pay It Forward at Lake Land College.”

First place: I am a pizza delivery driver and one day I got a tip that really made an impact on my life. I showed up to what I would consider to be a humble duplex. When I got to the door, I told the lady her total and she handed me a wad of cash and said, “Yes I meant to do that…just keep it all.” At first, I didn’t understand what she meant so I just stared at her with a blank look on my face for a second. She went on to tell me that she knows what it’s like to be a struggling college student making minimum wage. “Hopefully one day when you get your degree, you will pay it forward to someone else,” she said as she closed the door. When I got to my car, I counted the money and she had given me a $15 tip! She really made my night and because of her, I know I will surprise working college students once I get my degree.

Hood, Linda

Linda Hood of St. Elmo recently won second place in a social media contest, “Pay It Forward at Lake Land College.”

Second place: WBGL has a website where you can see what people need and choose to fill the need. So one Christmas, when I was working a lot of over-time, I saw a family needed food. So I went to Save-a-Lot and bought a cart full. It filled five boxes. I also went to Dollar General and bought them shampoo, toilet paper, razors and necessity items I thought they could use. When I met them to drop off the items, they were at Road Angels helping out for three days to get one box of groceries. They were very surprised at the month’s supply of groceries I gave them along with the other items.

Austin, Toby

Toby Austin of Mattoon recently won third place in a social media contest, “Pay It Forward at Lake Land College.”

Third Place: I live at Haywick Catholic House, where I live for free. I have nothing to give, but they have shown me how to share what I have, meaning caring and love, and to be supportive of my other roommates in the house. They taught me how to share, to give to others, and care about other people, other than being selfish and thinking about myself all the time. They don’t ask for anything – they supply the food, they supply all my needs – daily toiletries, everything, and I feel guilty of accepting all these things without giving back. So to the best of my ability and my heart, I try to help and give others what was so freely given to me. I volunteer at churches, the community Catholic functions and I literally give blood, because that’s something I can share to help others because they’re helping me. This is the first time in my life that I have been caring about helping others because someone cared about me. Now I know what paying it forward means for the rest of my life.

The Lake Land College Foundation was established exclusively for educational, scientific and charitable purposes. The Foundation assists the College in developing and enhancing the educational opportunities and service to its students, alumni and citizens of the district. The Foundation is chartered under the Internal Revenue Code as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt, non-profit organization, which may accept gifts of money, property, works of art, historical papers and documents, museum specimens and other materials having educational, artistic or historical value, and by such other proper means as may be deemed advisable. The thrust of the Foundation is to provide student scholarships through funds contributed by individuals, agencies and corporations.

To learn more about the Lake Land College Foundation, visit

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