College News

Barton recognizes Student Ambassadors of the Year

3 people holding awards in front of a blue backdrop
(From Left) Ambassadors of the Year award winners Dakota Aumiller, Addison Smith, and "The Rock" Award winner Bradley Beck.

May 12, 2023
Story and photo by Joe Vinduska

Barton Community College has announced its 2022-23 Brant J. Ballhorst Student Ambassadors of the Year. Named in memory of Brant J. Ballhorst, the award recognizes two outstanding Student Ambassadors each year. The winners this year were Dakota Aumiller of Great Bend and Addison Smith of Hoisington.

This year marked the 19th anniversary of the award. The Admissions office also named Bradley Beck of Great Bend as the recipient of this year’s “The Rock” award, which is presented to students who go above and beyond the call of duty in assisting the Admissions office. The award recipients were chosen by their peers and Barton’s Admissions staff.

Ambassador of the Year: Dakota Aumiller

Aumiller is a freshman and is a member of the varsity cheer team. He will return to Barton next year, and after that, he plans to attend Kansas State University (KSU) and be on their cheer team. He plans to get his bachelor’s degree in communications. He is the son of Takowa and Arturo Ramirez.

Ambassador of the Year: Addison Smith

Smith has been involved in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor society, Community Service Organization, and Barton Spark. She is a sophomore and will transfer to Fort Hays State University in the fall to study elementary education. She is the daughter of Dee Ann Smith and the late Gary Smith.

The Rock Award: Bradley Beck

Beck is a freshman and is a member of the sports medicine team at Barton and is an athletic trainer for the baseball team. He will return to Barton next year, and after that, he plans to attend KSU and get his master’s degree in athletic training. He is the son of Randy and Daphne Beck. 

About Brant J. Ballhorst and the award

From Smith Center, Ballhorst was a 2002 Barton graduate and former Student Ambassador. Despite health concerns throughout his time at Barton, he was the model Ambassador. He balanced a challenging course schedule and golf team commitment while remaining dedicated to his role as a Student Ambassador. Ballhorst was a respected peer and cherished friend of many on campus, especially the Admissions Office. His determination and dedication touched the lives of everyone he met.

He graduated from Barton with a degree in pre-pharmacy and attended the School of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas. He was a student at KU until his death on Aug. 5, 2004. He always had a good attitude about his illness and joked that it was good education for his major. He was the son of John and Gayle Ballhorst of Smith Center.

Barton will continue to honor Ballhorst’s achievements, character, personality, and work ethic by awarding future Ambassadors of the Year in his memory. A permanent plaque dedicated in his honor is displayed in the corridor of the Kirkman Activity Center on Barton’s campus.

For more information, contact Director of Admissions Tana Cooper at or (620) 792-9241.