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State to honor busy PHCC student for 2nd straight year

Judith Zollo has her hands full as a volunteer, part-time worker, student government leader and scholar who scored perfect grades at Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Now, for the second straight year, the Port Richey resident is one of a select group honored by the state of Florida for her efforts.

The recognition, bestowed by the state Board of Community Colleges, is for Zollo's academic achievements, leadership and community service. The award carries no scholarship money.

"The A's are nice, but it's also nice to get recognition from outside the school," said Zollo, who has chalked up a 4.0 grade-point average since she started classes at PHCC's New Port Richey campus in 1994.

She will receive an associate's degree this spring and continue her studies in education at the University of South Florida in the fall.

She is thinking of becoming a special-education teacher, perhaps assisting gifted students.

Zollo also serves as secretary of the PHCC Student Government Association and president of the PHCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

She volunteered through the PHCC Cares program with such organizations as the Boys and Girls Club of Pasco County. In addition, she is a member of the PHCC Brain Bowl Team, which competes in contests testing knowledge of community college curricula.

Now taking two courses a semester, Zollo also found time to work part time at Cobb Theaters and operate a landscaping business, Advantage Maintenance Service, with her husband, Joe.

Zollo said she did not immediately start college after high school because she accumulated debts in her late teens that took time to pay off.

But she was determined to go to college.

"I always planned to be a teacher since I was a child," she said.

Three other PHCC students were also named to the All-Florida Academic Team.

Barbara M. Gilbo, 39, of Port Richey, was selected for the second team. Donna S. Porter, 37, and Carol A. Lewis, 36, were named to the third team.

In all, 89 students statewide were named to the first, second or third teams. This is the third year the state Board of Community Colleges has given the awards.