College News

Barton recognizes Student Ambassadors of the Year

winners with their trophies
(From Left) "The Rock" Award winner Abigail Hodges, Ambassadors of the Year award winners Wittney Hammeke and Haley Troyer.

May 13, 2022
Story and photo by Joe Vinduska

Barton Community College has announced its 2021-22 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 Haley Troyer and Wittney Hammeke of Ellinwood.

This year marked the 18th anniversary of the award. The Admissions office also named Abigail Hodges of Bennington 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: Wittney Hammeke
Hammeke will graduate this year after one year at Barton. She will attend Kansas State University next year where she will study secondary education with an emphasis in English. She has been involved in student ambassadors, PTK, CSO/SPARK and BCCAE. She is the daughter of Clint and Karrie Hammeke.

Ambassador of the Year: Haley Troyer
Troyer has been involved in Hilltop Singers, Concert Choir and student ambassadors. She will attend Barton in the fall and then transfer to Kansas State University where she will continue to study elementary education. She is the daughter of Matt and Tammy Troyer.

The Rock Award: Abigail Hodges
Hodges is a sophomore and is involved in student ambassadors, CSO/Spark, PTK and BCCAE. She plans to attend the Emporia State University next year. She is the daughter of Jeff and Sara Hodges. 

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.