Academic Excellence Award

Academic Excellence Award

Paula Alanis

Paula Alanis, South Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Paula Alanis, South Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

My name is Paula Alanis and although I was born in the USA I grew up in Mexico. I returned to the United States when I was 18 with my wonderful husband. We didn't know the culture or the language we decided to come here for better opportunities.

Darren Stewart

Darren Stewart, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Darren Stewart, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I retired from the Marine Corps in 2009 and decided to further my education in pursuit of a different career.  I decided to pursue a career in Business with a concentration in Human Resource Management so I enrolled at Gaston College in the fall of 2009.

Nathan Trent

Nathan Trent, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Nathan Trent, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Wayne Community College has helped me work on completing my current goals and strive for success. The teachers, staff, and other students have been a pleasure to work with and made this learning experience the best possible.

Melissa Dawkins

Alamance Community College 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Melissa Dawkins
Melissa Dawkins

As a busy wife and mother of three, I attended classes at Alamance Community College for two years before obtaining my Associate in Arts degree in December 2015. Going to ACC positively impacted my family’s life.

Jesse J. Bullins, Jr.

Jesse Bullins, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Jesse Bullins, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I made the biggest mistake of my life when I dropped out of high school in 1994 simply because I hated school.  The faculty and staff of Randolph Community College have opened my eyes to a brighter and more successful future than I could have ever imagined.  I obtained my GED in 2006 from RCC and

Riyam Al Ghrary

Riyam Al Ghrary, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Riyam Al Ghrary, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013

As I look back on my accomplishments and personal breakthroughs, I notice a common denominator. Almost all have been achieved with the help of the inspiring professors and supportive faculty of Central Piedmont Community College. During my time at CPCC, I have grown as a student and a leader.

Shodeah Kelly

Davidson County CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Shodeah Kelly
Shodeah Kelly

Clenching the straps of my book bag in sheer nervousness, I walked into the doors of Davidson County Community College. In an instant, I was in a class with adults who had full-time jobs, spouses, and children.

Karen Peralta

Karen Peralta, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Karen Peralta, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2012

A traditional student I am not! I am a displaced worker who found myself at Wayne Community College at age 52, learning how to be a medical assistant. My college experience has turned out to be much more than academics, but also inspiration and fulfillment.

Carley Williams

Carley Williams, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Carley Williams, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I never could have imagined graduating from high school early or attending college at the age of sixteen. I was home schooled throughout most of my elementary education and also throughout high school. Home schooling gave me the opportunity to work ahead.

Katie Riddle

Katie Riddle, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Excellence Award 2014
Katie Riddle, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Excellence Award 2014

The traditional path is to begin with community college, then transfer to the university to complete a Bachelor's degree.

Tyler David Thompson

Montgomery CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Tyler Thompson
Tyler Thompson

My college experience began at the age of sixteen when I enrolled in the Career and College Promise program which allows high school students to take college classes. I enrolled in the Electrical Systems Technology program under my instructor Art Fur.

Anastasia Izvekova

Anastasia Izvekova, College of The Albemarle, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Anastasia Izvekova, College of The Albemarle, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

College of The Albemarle gave me so much, I don’t even know where to begin. I came all the way from Russia to realize my dream of studying in the USA. I am so fortunate that I chose to go to the College of The Albemarle first before going to a four-year school.

Jeremy Keith Pitt

Jeremy Pitt, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Jeremy Pitt, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013

One year ago, the prospect of going back to school was not an option. My wife and I had moved from Utah to North Carolina. I was grateful to find work at a local bank with decent pay and great hours.

Dustin Darnell

Dustin Darnell, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Dustin Darnell, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Before attending GTCC, I was a college dropout without a purpose in life. Stubborn and naïve, I believed that life consisted of what I saw on the Real World, which of course set me up for more failure. I used materialism, intimate relationships, and drugs to fill the void I felt within myself.

Katelyn Blythe

Stanly CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Katelyn Blythe
Katelyn Blythe

Two years ago, I made a decision that would change my life for the best.  I decided to go to Stanly Community College (SCC) to obtain my associate degree in Criminal Justice.  I am now in my last semester at SCC, and I have had a great experience thus far in my college career.  I have come a long

Holly Davis

Holly Davis, Martin Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Holly Davis, Martin Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

The decision to attend Martin Community College came very naturally to me. I knew MCC would be the best option for me, because it was close to home and was a smaller institution.

Douglas Fritchey

Douglas Fritchey, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Douglas Fritchey, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Throughout my educational and professional career it has been my ultimate goal to learn something new each day, and to determine a potential success from this gained knowledge.  I not only want to retain information, but I want to practice the skills learned throughout my education.  The Professi

Ivy Marie Lindsey

Ivy Marie Lindsey, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Ivy Marie Lindsey, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2014

As a college student, I have strived to set a good example of what a good student should be. I would like to think that my efforts have not gone unnoticed because all of my children are well on their way to a good college education.

Joshua Bradley Mesimer

Joshua Bradley Mesimer, Sampson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Joshua Bradley Mesimer, Sampson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Sampson Community College has named Joshua Bradley Mesimer to receive the 2015 Academic Excellence Award.

Darren Lipman

Darren Lipman, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Darren Lipman, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I was never a leader. Working with others was never a strength of mine. Even starting a conversation was difficult. This all changed when I became a student at Guilford Tech.

Xia Vang

Xia Vang, Western Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Xia Vang, Western Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014

When I made the choice to further my education I chose to attend a community college for financial reasons but I wanted one that was welcoming and showed dedication to their students by providing motivational staff, faculty and easily accessible resources.

Michelle Irwin

AB Tech 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Michelle Irwin
Michelle Irwin

As a single mother of three children, I always knew that my high school diploma was never going to be enough. High school was always a challenge for me, so the idea of college was daunting.

Kimberly Harrelson

Kimberly Harrelson, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Kimberly Harrelson, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I moved to Richmond County about 3 years ago.  I had been working the NC Army National Guard full-time.  For the first year I stayed at home with my 4 year old daughter.  Once she started school, I decided to go back to school myself.  I originally went to Richmond Community College to get Substi

Shane Chase

Shane Chase, Cleveland Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Shane Chase, Cleveland Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Working as a frontline supervisor at Cleveland Yutaka, Shane Chase knew he wanted to improve himself and the company he was working for.

Yiu San Tung

Durham Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Yiu San Tung
Yiu San Tung

Durham Technical Community College has become the place that I arrive early in the morning with the prospect of having new lessons on my favorite subjects, Chemistry, English, and Psychology.

Misty Davis

Misty Davis, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Misty Davis, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I began my working career in high school and after 15 years of employment, found myself to be a dislocated worker without a college degree.

Lisa Elliott Shelton

Lisa Elliott Shelton, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Lisa Elliott Shelton, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

In 1980, while finishing a class in Early Childhood Development at McDowell High School, my heart’s desire and future goal was to somehow continue my education, and return the love and respect that had promoted the positive growth that I had experienced in my life.  Mt instructors offered motivat

Tria Brown

Tria Brown, Caper Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Tria Brown, Caper Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My name is Tria Brown and I started my academic career at Cape Fear Community College in the spring of 2010; I am now a senior in the Surgical Technology program.

Dana K. Wise

Nash CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Dana K. Wise
Dana K. Wise

As a forty-something year old wife and mother of five, I got this crazy idea that I would like to be a Physical Therapist Assistant.  Thinking it was impossible, I told my husband so he could bring me back to reality.  Instead, he encouraged me to follow through.  I drove an hour from Mount Olive

Robin Kerr

Robin Kerr, Coastal Carolina Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Robin Kerr, Coastal Carolina Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Learning is an essential part of life. According to the Digest of Education Statistics at ed.gov, approximately 7.3 million people attended a two-year college in 2014. I am one of those people. I began pursuing my Associate in Applied Science Degree in Architectural Technology in August 2013.

Avneet Nagra

Avneet Nagra, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Avneet Nagra, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2013

When Avneet Nagra accepts her high school diploma in May, she will also be awarded an associate’s degree, making the 17 year old the first member of her family to graduate from college.

Georgiana Couden

Georgiana Couden, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Georgiana Couden, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2014

As a mature student looking to re-tool and refresh, I enrolled in Halifax Community College with a plan. My plan was to take some classes and graduate. Sounds simple doesn't it?

Mackenzie Ammann

Surry CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Mackenzie Ammann
Mackenzie Ammann

Throughout my journey to discover both myself and the opportunities that await after graduating from Surry Early College, I have found veracity in the words of Sidney Harris: “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Essentially, Harris emphasized that mi

Matthew Ray

Matthew Ray, Mayland Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Matthew Ray, Mayland Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Mayland Community College’s 2015 North Carolina Community College System’s Academic Excellence Award recipient is Matthew Ray. He will graduate with his Associate Degree in Nursing this May, and intends to continue his education at a four-year institution after graduating.

Amelia Hawkins

Amelia Hawkins, Caldwell Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Amelia Hawkins, Caldwell Community College, Excellence Award 2012

When I was in the eighth grade, I made the decision to apply to Caldwell Early College High School, a program in which students attend high school and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute for five years.

Scot Shields

Scot Shields, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Scot Shields, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My path to Richmond Community College has been interesting and the timing could not have been better.

Joshua Babb

Joshua Babb, Sandhills Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Joshua Babb, Sandhills Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

In 2005, at the age of sixteen, I became husband and a father. To this day, these are still my two greatest accomplishments. With that being said, my early start on adulthood did not leave me much time to think about my education.

Casey Baird

Casey Baird, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Casey Baird, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My name is Casey and I am honored to represent Halifax Community College. Because I was raised to be a humble and simple person something of this degree is quite extravagant.

John Welborn

John Welborn, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2014
John Welborn, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I enrolled at Wilkes Community College two years ago to pursue the Architectural Technology degree. It only took one drafting class in high school and I was instantly hooked.

Christopher Donte Atkinson

Beaufort County CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Chris Atkinson
Chris Atkinson

Attending Beaufort County Community College has aided in achieving my life's goal of becoming a law enforcement officer. I was raised in Kearney Park housing development, which is housing designed for low income families. The community was ridden with high crime, drugs and gang activity.

Montrell Cruse

Montrell Cruse, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Montrell Cruse, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2012

When I arrived at Roanoke-Chowan Community College in 2008, I was an introvert. As I began to socialize with the staff and faculty at the College, I started to become more of a social butterfly.

Nicole Mena

Nicole Mena, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Nicole Mena, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2013

From day one at Craven I was given support and guidance, yet empowered to be in control of my education and decisions at the same time. When my family relocated to North Carolina, I decided to change career paths and follow my longtime dream of becoming a teacher.

Kathryn Carpenter Hale

Edgecombe CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Kathryn Carpenter Hale
Kathryn Carpenter Hale

I am a senior Medical Assisting student at Edgecombe Community College. My program began fall 2014, and I graduate this May 2016. Throughout my program, I have maintained a 4.0 GPA. I have taken away so many experiences that will forever benefit my personal life and career.

Mary Speight

Mary Speight, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Mary Speight, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2012

In October 2009 I lost my job due to the company moving overseas, and they gave their employees the opportunity to go back to school.  The thought of going back to school being 40 years old was very scary, but I realized it was something that I always wanted to do.  Therefore January 2010 I enrol

Darin Aldridge

Darin Aldridge, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Darin Aldridge, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My success story at Mitchell Community College (MCC) began after a decade-long hiatus from learning.

Allison Gay

Allison Gay, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Allison Gay, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My daughter and I are originally from Beaufort County, but moved to Carteret County in 2011. I have always known that I wanted to work in the medical field, but I had to search to find my niche.

Janna Raynor

Pamlico CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Janna Raynor
Janna Raynor

My community college experience has been life changing. Upon graduating high school in 2014, I was far from eager to leave my comfort zone and attend college. My parents encouraged me to tour Pamlico Community College. From the very beginning, I was welcomed. My assigned advisor, Mr.

Hallie Frency

Hallie French, Craven Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Hallie French, Craven Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Craven has proved to be an incredible stepping stone. When I began my time at Craven I was unsure of myself. I knew that I wanted to study English, but I lacked direction. Craven has provided me with priceless opportunities that I would not have been afforded otherwise.

Anthony Heltsley

Anthony Heltsley, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Anthony Heltsley, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After being out of high school for over nineteen years and never taken a college class ever, I began to have trouble adapting to the college class environment and lacked self-confidence. I was starting to doubt whether I was really cut out or even smart enough for college.

Nicholas Wilson

Nicholas Wilson, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Nicholas Wilson, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My success story begins with a year-long break from school, where I determined what I wanted to do with my life. During that break, I taught school children team-building skills as well as environmental education at the Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center in Reidsville, North Carolina.

Elena Wimpey

Tri-County CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Elena Wimpey
Elena Wimpey

Fifteen years ago, I moved to the United States from Russia, and found myself immersed in a culture unfamiliar to me while struggling to learn a new language I could barely speak.

Dalton Brooks

Dalton Brooks, McDowell Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Dalton Brooks, McDowell Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Fearing I shall sound pretentious when others read this, I will begin by saying I am humbled with being selected out of so many, to receive this Award of Academic Excellence.

Malik Abdul-Rashid

Malik Abdul-Rashid, Cape Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Malik Abdul-Rashid, Cape Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2012

In 2007, I received a letter that would subsequently change my life.

Michael Joyner

Michael Joyner, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Michael Joyner, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I came to Roanoke-Chowan Community College in 2011, and my time here has been amazing; I've learned much and have met some amazing people. However, my road to success hasn't been easy.

Nico Reyes

Nico Reyes, Southeastern Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Nico Reyes, Southeastern Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

A bag packed with books, pens and pencils ‐ an epitome of normalcy for an average college student.

Kristen Mashburn

Kristen Mashburn, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Kristen Mashburn, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I started my journey at Haywood Community College when I was a sophomore at Tuscola High School.

Denise Jordaon

Denise Jordaon, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Denise Jordaon, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Since graduating high school in 1988, I dreamed of furthering my education by going to college and pursuing a career of my choice. Instead I married, had children, divorced, and became a single mother. My personal dreams faded in exchange for creating a life built around others' needs.

Levy Pate

Bladen CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Levy Pate
Levy Pate

I began my journey with Bladen Community College during the summer of 2014.  After being homeschooled for 13 years, I was reluctant about how well I would do in a classroom setting.  That summer, I took two on-line courses and did well, which boosted my confidence in my ability to achieve in coll

Ashley Driscoll Broadway

Ashley Broadway, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ashley Broadway, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Being a nontraditional student at Robeson Community College has been such a wonderful and rewarding learning experience.

Crystal Overcash

Crystal Overcash, Davidson County Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Crystal Overcash, Davidson County Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Pursuing a dream is not easy. My dream has always been to become a labor and delivery nurse. That dream became secondary while I raised my young daughter as a single mother, but finally at age 30, I was able to start college and my dream came back into focus.

Toni Jurkiewicz

Fayetteville Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Toni Jurkiewicz
Toni Jurkiewicz

In 1999 I left South Africa and came to America to make a better life for myself by driving 18-wheelers country-wide. I knew America was the place I wanted to be. My dream came true when I met the man of my dreams who was serving his country in the US Army 3rd Special Forces Group.

Paulette Gardner

Paulette Gardner, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Paulette Gardner, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

When I was expecting my second child, I looked at my life and wanted more for my children. I decided to go to A-B Tech. I knew the only way I would be able to give them the life they deserved was by going back to school.

Sheila Menendez

Sheila Menendez, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Sheila Menendez, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Growing up, I was always fascinated with horses. This fascination led to my decision to chase my lifelong dream of working with children and horses. To be able to do what I love, and get paid for it, an education is the single most important step to take.

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Michael Wilkins, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Keeping my CVCC Success story under 200 words may be one of the most difficult challenges I have had to face since beginning my journey here.

Vivian Kpenosen

Piedmont CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Vivian Kpenosen
Vivian Kpenosen

Living in Nigeria, I had a friend with Sickle-cell disease. This friend said that her nurse was a guardian angel. That nurse always put a smile on my friend’s face. It was then that I decided to focus on healthcare and getting a degree. My mother helped me get a Visa to come to America.

Mitchell Cleary

Mitchell Cleary, Davidson County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Mitchell Cleary, Davidson County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

In high school, I had a hard time understanding not only what the point of learning was, but what the point of life was. I felt like I was playing a game where everyone understood the rules except for me. I dropped out and fell into a deep depression.

William Dennis

William Dennis, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2013
William Dennis, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2013

The idea of college always seemed nice, but I never considered it would become a reality.  When the economy took its toll on the construction industry, I did not realize my path of life would change for the better.

Chad Pettit

Chad Pettit, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Chad Pettit, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2014

“It's not a job, it's an adventure.” That used to be the recruiting slogan for the Army. After ten years and multiple deployments, including two combat tours to Iraq, I can say it truly is an adventure. Unfortunately, that adventure left me ill-prepared for civilian life.

Elizabeth Mary Caulfield

Vance-Granville CC Academic Excellence Award recipient Elizabeth Caulfield
Elizabeth Caulfield

My high school experience has been unorthodox. I am an early college student, and I have been enrolled at Vance-Granville Community College since fall of 2012. My experience has been thrilling; I would never change my decision to attend the early college.

Alexis Kryssing

Alexis Kryssing, Mitchell Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Alexis Kryssing, Mitchell Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I moved from New York to North Carolina, before my last year of high school, and I was unsure where I wanted to attend college. Starting in 2013, I chose Mitchell Community College because employees greeted me with kindness, and I could settle into my new surroundings.

Todd Gill

Todd Gill, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Todd Gill, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Aquaculture student Todd Gill, 30, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while taking more than 24 hours of Aquaculture, Biology and other science courses at the college. This semester, Mr. Gill is taking 20 hours of science related courses.

June Edwards

June Edwards, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2014
June Edwards, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2014

The year 2012 was my year of second chances. I was informed in December 2011 that the company I had worked at for the last thirty-four years was closing and all manufacturing was moving to either Mexico or China. My job would end on March 31st 2012.

Conner Wilson

Conner Wilson, Southwestern Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Conner Wilson, Southwestern Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

When I started my college career I was excited for what my future as a student held. I was already working two part-time jobs and then I just added the task of going to school full-time. In the fall semester of my first year was when I decided to join the fire department.

Nate DeGrandpre

Nate DeGrandpre, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Nate DeGrandpre, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2012

In looking back on the last two years at Isothermal Community College I am simply amazed. I am not only amazed at what I have accomplished, but I am also amazed at the tremendous support that has brought me to this point.

Brian Pham

Brian Pham, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Brian Pham, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2013

To Brian Pham, one meaning of freedom is being able to pursue a good education. Pham, who was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 1998 with his parents and sister. He is the 2013 North Carolina Community College System's Dallas Herring Award recipient. 

Rachel Quinn

Blue Ridge CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Rachel Quinn
Rachel Quinn

One of the hardest choices in life is choosing which college to attend. I could have gone to any college, but I started looking at community colleges for financial reasons.

Rochelle Nicole McCain

Rochelle Nicole McCain, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Rochelle Nicole McCain, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My experience at Rockingham Community College (RCC) has been an astonishing journey. Attending RCC has not only helped me to identify myself, but it has also aided in pursuing and achieving my goals. As a Fine Arts major, I have learned so much about leadership, relationships, and uniqueness.

Erin Souther

Erin Souther, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Erin Souther, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Erin Marie Souther has been selected as Durham Technical Community College’s Academic Excellence Award recipient for 2013. Souther is planning to graduate in May 2013 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Laboratory Technology.

Monica Cooper

Forsyth Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Monica Cooper
Monica Cooper

When I was sixteen I dropped out of school due to being pregnant and homeless. I was forced to give my son up for adoption, a decision that would prove to stagnate me for years as well as be that one thing in life that I regret. For years I found myself surviving to live and living to survive.

Daniel Stickel

Daniel Stickel, Alamance Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Daniel Stickel, Alamance Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Alamance Community College has had a tremendous impact upon my life.

LaShonda M. Caine

LaShonda Caine, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2013
LaShonda Caine, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2013

A stay-at-home mom for many years, I returned to school for a decent paying job and to take some of the burden off my husband. With four of seven children living at home, and grandchildren, I needed to return to the workforce.

Scott Butcher

Scott Butcher, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Scott Butcher, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Unfortunately, due to the economy I lost my job of 8 years and have been unemployed since 2012. This is when I started looking at returning to school not only for more job opportunities but as a life lesson for my children. I wanted to show my children how turn a negative into a positive.

Mary Gardner

Pitt CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Mary Gardner
Mary Gardner

When I started this higher education journey in spring of 2013 at 46, I really had no direction and was plagued by the fear that I would fail. I did not excel in high school and it had been over 18 years since I was in a classroom setting.

Shantel Richardson

Shantel Richardson, Durham Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Shantel Richardson, Durham Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

After graduating high school, I moved in with my sister in North Carolina. I began a gap year working retail and volunteering at a local nursing home. Though I was busy working, traveling and volunteering, I knew I wanted more – to continue learning.

James Tillman Cockerham

James Cockerham, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2013
James Cockerham, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My journey in post-secondary education began at the age of twenty-three. I graduated from high school six years earlier and set out to make a name for myself as a musician. As I grew older, my priorities changed, and I found myself wanting to be a force for good in my community.

Brianne Fawe

Brianne Fawe, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Brianne Fawe, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I am currently a student of Duplin Early College High School and will complete both my high school diploma and Associate in Arts degree in 4 years, graduating in May 2014.

Donna S. Dixon

Wake Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Donna S. Dixon
Donna S. Dixon

In 2003, I was a traditional student at a four-year university; however, I did not have a very well thought out plan concerning where I was headed in life. I could not afford $16,000 per year tuition as an out-of-state student, so I decided to join the United States Army.

Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson, Montgomery Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Elizabeth Johnson, Montgomery Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

There were several reasons I decided to go back to school. As a mother of four children, I wanted to set a good example for my children so they would understand the value of education. I wanted to achieve something I had waited twenty years to do.

Dillon White

Dillon White, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Dillon White, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I had never planned on being an academic individual. When I first came to Catawba Valley Community College I was only looking to earn a certificate, graduate, and find a better job. There was no master plan, and far less, the dream of graduating with an Associates of Science degree.

Phillip Brooks

Phillip Brooks, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Phillip Brooks, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Phillip Brooks, of Eden has been selected as the 2014 Academic Excellence Award recipient for Rockingham Community College. Brooks, whose academic average is currently a 4.0, is on track to earn an Associate in Science in computer information technology this summer.

Xee Cindy Xiong

Xee Cindy Xiong, Stanly Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Xee Cindy Xiong, Stanly Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

When I was in the eighth grade, I made the decision to apply to Stanly Early College High School.  Never before did I understand how big of a decision it was nor how greatly it would impact me down the road until now. 

Ashley Rabon

Ashley Rabon, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ashley Rabon, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Fresh out of high school, I became a wife and a mother or two. My husband started his own business a year after we were married and I became a stay-at-home mom. After being home for four years, I wanted to do something to help support my family.

Kaitlyn M. Raitano

Kaitlyn Raitano, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Kaitlyn Raitano, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After graduating from Chapel Hill High School in 2010, I took a semester off and worked at a local restaurant. While working, I volunteered with the NC Special Olympics and helped students with Intellectual Disabilities in the classroom.

Kyle Mehl

Brunswick CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Kyle Mehl
Kyle Mehl

Many things go through a first-year college student’s mind when walking into their first class. These fears can include: having trouble at making friends, embarrassing themselves, and even failing their class as if they are not prepared for it.

Dane Hendrickson

Dane Hendrickson, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Dane Hendrickson, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2012

When it came to choosing a college for the first time, there were many important factors to consider. For example, the most important item to consider was the college’s offering of programs. Another factor involved “fit”.

James Patrick Philips

James Patrick Philips, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2013
James Patrick Philips, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Edgecombe Community College has been an academic oasis during this initial phase of my college journey. Without a doubt, the College’s faculty has had a decisive impact on my intellectual formation.

Samantha Jo Christopher

Gaston College 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Samantha Jo Christopher
Samantha Jo Christopher

I began my collegiate journey at Gaston College in the fall of 2014. The year prior, I was deployed overseas on my second combat tour when a 200-pound Improvised Explosive Devise struck my vehicle.

Danielle Williams

Danielle Williams, Beaufort County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Danielle Williams, Beaufort County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Two years ago, my husband and I became licensed foster parents.  Since then, we have fostered three children and have learned a great deal from each one. Through my experiences with foster care, I was informed about the Guardian ad Litem program which is a child advocacy program.

Amber Pegram

Amber Pegram, Pamlico Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Amber Pegram, Pamlico Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Deciding whether or not to attend a four year university or community college was a difficult decision for me. During my senior year I was given the opportunity to take classes through Pamlico Community College. With the rising cost of college, I knew community college would be my best option.

Anza Abbas

Anza Abbas, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Anza Abbas, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Most students who have traveled thousands of miles for the sake of education come with a determined mindset of succeeding. I, belonging to this category, undoubtedly believe that getting exposed to a variety of academic fields is immensely important for such students.

Santiago Avila Ponce

Randolph CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Avila Ponce
Avila Ponce

The success of Santiago Avila Ponce, a Radiography student at Randolph Community College, goes beyond his grade point average, which is excellent at 3.893. It shows up in various ways in the classroom and at clinical sites, according to his instructors.

Andre Cooper

Andre Cooper, Edgecombe Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Andre Cooper, Edgecombe Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

It has been times in my life that victory and self-esteem eluded me. Nothing I tried worked. I was starting to think happiness and success wasn’t meant for me. All of my peers had moved on in life and started careers and families, living their life to the fullest.

Holly Blackman

Holly Blackman, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Holly Blackman, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2013

College is a foundation that many people need to succeed in life, and my foundation started at Tri County Community College.  I got my G.E.D eight years ago at Tri-County and now I’m 21 hours away from my two year degree.

Margaret Raynor

Margaret Raynor, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Margaret Raynor, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2014

After 18 years of working in the airline industry, Margaret Raynor decided to retire in 2005. She tried several different jobs over the next six years, but she still wasn't fully satisfied.

Dennis Hawley

Wayne CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Dennis Hawley
Dennis Hawley

I was born and raised in Germany, where I survived a battle with cancer but had limited options for furthering my education or career. So in 2011 I moved to the United States with hope and big expectations.

Lilia Martinez

Lilia Martinez, Nash Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Lilia Martinez, Nash Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

In elementary school and middle school, I was an A and B student.  At the age of 17, my senior year of high school, my life took a 360 degree turn because of making a wrong decision.  I graduated from high school with a very disappointing GPA and begin working a full time job, which I did not lik

Jessica Cooper

Jessica Cooper, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Jessica Cooper, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Since I was seven, I wanted to attend college. Growing up in a family of nine children gave me a strong desire to set a positive example. Due to financial constraints, it seemed less feasible I could attend college.

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Tim Wilson, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2014

After falling short of receiving my diploma from East Gaston High School, my grandmother offered me new home and a fresh start a few counties away to restart my academic career.

Brad Easter

Brad Easter, Surry Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Brad Easter, Surry Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Almost three years ago to the day, I was sitting in the same spot on the couch that I’m sitting in now typing this essay. It is only by reflecting back on that painful night three years ago that I’m able to put into words my “success story” involving my NC Community College experience.

Nathaniel Jones

Nathaniel Jones, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Nathaniel Jones, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I chose to go to JCC right after high school not because it was my only option but because it just made practical sense.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Andrew Marshall, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Inspired by my mother's success, I chose Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) because I needed an affordable way to find my path in life. Here, I met supportive, caring teachers who encouraged me to pursue psychology and creative writing, my two greatest passions.

Callie Tester

Caldwell CC&I 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Callie Tester
Callie Tester

Shortly after starting at CCC&TI in the Computer Technology Integration program, I joined several groups, including the Student Government Association, TRIO, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Being involved has helped me accomplish my goals and benefit from new experiences.

Steven L. Vernon

Steven Vernon, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Steven Vernon, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Steven Vernon had worked in manufacturing for over thirty-two years when he learned his job would be terminated.  Five short days later, he was unemployed.  Through the Trade Readjustment Act, Steven was given the opportunity to go to college, get a degree, and make a career change.

Tiana Bombard

Tiana Bombard, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Tiana Bombard, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My name is Tiana Bombard, and I attend Fayetteville Technical Community College. I am a military spouse to my amazing husband, Patrick, and we have a beautiful son, Wyatt.

Sharon Parks

Guilford Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Sharon Parks
Sharon Parks

A friend is one that is always accepting and encouraging regardless of how much time has passed. For thirty years Guilford Technical Community College has consistently demonstrated this concept.

Robin Novak

Robin Novak, Bladen Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Robin Novak, Bladen Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

In pursuit of advanced academic training for better career opportunities, Robin Novak enrolled in the Computer Information Technology program at Bladen Community College. A veteran of the United States Army, Ms. Novak suffers from Cervical Dystonia.

Diana Gonzalez

Diana Gonzalez, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Diana Gonzalez, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Moving to the United States from Mexico at the age of two, Diana Gonzalez knew first-hand the communication difficulties her family had while she was growing up. “I usually had to translate for my mother whenever she would have appointments,” Diana recalls.

Anna Marie Vagnozzi

Anna Marie Vagnozzi, Clevland Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Anna Marie Vagnozzi, Clevland Community College, Excellence Award 2014

As a homeschool student who graduated high school early, Anna Marie Vagnozzi says Cleveland Community College seemed like the best way to pursue her passion for learning.

Jacob Newton

Richmond CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Jacob Newton
Jacob Newton

This is my fifth semester at Richmond Community College. When I first came here, my future felt uncertain. I was reluctant to return to a classroom setting after being homeschooled and self-taught for more than five years.

Scarlett Burgess

Scarlett Burgess, Fayetteville Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Scarlett Burgess, Fayetteville Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I have always had a lifelong love of learning and upon graduating from high school in 1981, my intention was to complete a college degree, but life intervened and I found myself divorced, raising two children alone.

Rita Hatzimimis

Rita Hatzimimis, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Rita Hatzimimis, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I will start by saying, “It is never too late to learn something new”. I am currently entering my last semester of the Radiography program at VGCC. In 1988, I earned a bachelor’s degree from Elon College (now Elon University).

Kayland Adam

Kayland Adam, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Kayland Adam, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2014

After I graduated from high school, I began a career as an automotive technician. At first, I was satisfied with my career choice, and the fact that I never went to college. Over time, I realized that I did not want to repair and maintain vehicles for the rest of my life.

Brooke Church

Wilkes CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Brooke Church
Brooke Church

It is by no means an overstatement to claim that Wilkes Community College (WCC) has reinvented my world, shaped who I am, and molded my future. At WCC, I have been immersed in a variety of courses that have altered my perspective.

Zachary James

Zachary James, Pamlico Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Zachary James, Pamlico Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

My family  moved to Pamlico County  in 2011.  I was a high  school dropout, working  on homeschool assignments.

Sara Dir

Sara Dir, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Sara Dir, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My time spent as a student at Central Piedmont Community College has proven to be one of my greatest adventures. Before I started attending CPCC I was a student fresh out of high school in Toronto, living on my own, and working part-time.

Shonita R. Vann

Shonita R. Vann, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Shonita R. Vann, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Sampson Community College student, Shonita Vann, has been chosen to receive the Academic Excellence Award for the 2013-2014 academic year. Mrs. Vann is currently enrolled in Sampson Community College's School-Age Education program.

Rebecca Williamson

Rebecca Williamson, Tri-County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Rebecca Williamson, Tri-County Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Tri-County Community College has been a positive, life-changing experience, but the journey hasn’t been easy. Being an only child and homeschooled, I had never been in a public classroom until my first day at Tri-County.

Angela Patton

Angela Patton, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Angela Patton, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Since I was twelve-years-old, I have wanted to work in the field of law. Although I have changed my mind a few times, I have more or less stayed with my goal.

Brett D. Ange

Brett Ange, Beaufort County Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Brett Ange, Beaufort County Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Beaufort County Community College student Brett D. Ange has been chosen to receive the prestigious Academic Excellence Award for the 2012-13 academic year. He is one of 58 award-winners statewide and will be recognized at a ceremony on the BCCC campus later this year.

Megan N. Lambert

Cape Fear CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Megan Lambert
Megan Lambert

“To be nobody but yourself-- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else--means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”

Charles Oliver

Charles Oliver, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2010
Charles Oliver, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2010

I came to Sandhills Community College in 2010 when I entered the polysomnography program.  Due to the downturn in the economy, I was a displaced worker.  SCC provided me with a fresh start and a new beginning.  As I began taking courses, I became aware of a passion that I did not know I had.  I r

Daniel Clark

Daniel Clark, Forsyth Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Daniel Clark, Forsyth Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After High School I went to college for one semester before deciding to join the ARMY.  I completed my obligation and when I returned home I started working and put school out of my mind.  I was hired as a police officer and with the schedule of a police officer I felt like completing school was

Rodney L. Lashley

Halifax CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Rodney Lashley
Rodney Lashley

I know from experience the path to a higher education is one that many start, but only a few finish. I am able to count myself among the few who will finish and have Halifax Community College (HCC) to thank for this accomplishment.

Shanita Jackson

Shanita Jackson, Blue Ridge Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Shanita Jackson, Blue Ridge Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Aside from my mother, education has been the only constant in my life. My mother and I were homeless for a year. I began my senior year living out of a motel. I walked to restaurants to turn in homework assignments. I sacrificed. I cried.

Blake Herring

Blake Herring, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Blake Herring, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Choosing a college can be one of the toughest decisions a high school senior has to make, and that certainly was the case for me.

Alexandra Reinhold

Alexandra Reinhold, Coastal Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Alexandra Reinhold, Coastal Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2014

In January of 2011, I attended a women's conference that was hosted by a local church in town. When the Guest Speaker described the different places she had traveled to, I was shown images of people who looked different than me.

Shirley M. Parker

Roanoke-Chowan CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Shirley Parker
Shirley Parker

I am a second-year student at Roanoke-Chowan Community College with plans to graduate in May 2016 with an Associate Degree in Business Administration. in 1976, I attended Roanoke-Chowan Technical Institute majoring in Executive Secretarial Science.

Angela Tournay

Angela Tournay, Forsyth Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Angela Tournay, Forsyth Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

In early 1990, I completed a year of Auburn's architectural program, but took a leave due to financial issues. Years passed. I worked, bought a car, got married, and bought a home. Life happened and my plan to return to Auburn faded. By 2012, I was at a crossroads: divorced and frustrated.

Joseph B. Cooley

Joseph Cooley, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Joseph Cooley, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Prior to attending Wake Tech, I attended a private liberal arts college and then a state university for graduate school.  Wake Tech was the first school I encountered that taught real world skills, yet simultaneously challenged students to think critically.  This unique combination is why I belie

Sayra Alexander Delgadillo Chavarria

Sayra Alexander Delgadillo Chavarria, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Sayra Alexander Delgadillo Chavarria, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Martin Community College has given me a great opportunity to further my education. I am a freshman and this is my second semester at Martin Community College. I feel that since the first semester I have learned tremendously from all my classes.

Melvin Little

Haywood CC Academic Excellence Award Recipient Melvin Little
Melvin Little

In the fall of 2010, I found myself being told that I would be laid off from a job that had

afforded my wife, son, and I, a comfortable living. I now was relying on unemployment

benefits, unable to pay my bills, and competing with many other unemployed people for very

Joanna Cheek

Joanna Cheek, Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Joanna Cheek, Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

About ten years after getting my GED from Piedmont Community College, the opportunity arose for me to finally begin my college education. I always knew I wanted to get a degree, but things just never worked out.

Leah Stain

Leah Stain, Cleveland Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Leah Stain, Cleveland Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Coming to Cleveland Community College was a no brainer for accounting student Leah Stain.

Joseph Max Harris

Joseph Max Harris, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Joseph Max Harris, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2014

In 2012, I graduated high school with a GPA of 2.0 and made some poor life choices. I can only describe myself as a disenchanted teenager who fell between the cracks. With my bad grades and unruly conduct, I came to feel like a failure.

Amy Morrison

Amy Morrison, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Amy Morrison, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014

After working at a financial institution for over 11 years, I realized that it was time for a change in my life. My position as an Assistant Manager required more education to advance, and I had just found out I was pregnant with my third child.

Geoffrey Arnott

Geoffrey Arnott, Vance-Granville Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Geoffrey Arnott, Vance-Granville Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I was homeschooled for grades 1-12.  I was given an excellent education by my parents, but I had never attended a class with more than a few students.  I had no idea what to expect from college.

Ivan Norman

Ivan Norman, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ivan Norman, Martin Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After graduating from Creswell High School in 1977, I continued my education at Martin Community College (MCC) where I received a diploma in Carpentry. I did well in my program, and the staff and faculty at MCC helped me locate a job at Robersonville Products Company.

Jessica Cain

Jessica Cain, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Jessica Cain, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My name is Jessica Cain. I am 19 years old and I am currently enrolled in my fourth and final semester at Bladen Community College. I will graduate in May 2013 with my Associate in Arts degree.

Lindsay Anne Finn

Carteret CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Lindsay Finn
Lindsay Anne Finn

Fresh out of high school, I joined the United States Coast Guard. Upon completion of my enlistment, I began to search for my next adventure. I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field but I was unsure exactly what that was.

Leyna Crane

Leyna Crane, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Leyna Crane, South Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I had never really considered a community college before. I’ve always been interested in the big well-known schools, such as Chapel Hill and NC State.

Aubrey Gardner

Aubrey Gardner, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Aubrey Gardner, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My journey began as an Adult High School student at Gaston College. From that experience, I realized that education was the most important thing in my life. I am not only dedicated to my academics but also to campus life and my community. I am a Senator for the Student Government Association.

Rachel Yvette Mercantini

Isothermal CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Rachel Yvette Mercantini
Rachel Yvette Mercantini

I began classes at Isothermal Community College after being out of school for over 10 years. I knew I wanted to continue my education, but was unsure at the time if I could do it while raising a young child.

Marley Templeman

Marley Templeman, Brunswick Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Marley Templeman, Brunswick Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

My journey at Brunswick Community College started after serving as an Intelligence Specialist in the United States Navy, and it has been a successful one thus far, but not without some adversity.

Rebecca Pulido

Rebecca Pulido, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Rebecca Pulido, Randolph Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My greatest achievements are becoming a wife, dedicated mother of three young boys, and a college student. In 2007, I graduated from Guilford Technical Community College with Honors, was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, and received my AAS in Culinary Arts.

Amanda Everett

Amanda Everett, College of the Albemarle, Excellence Award 2014
Amanda Everett, College of the Albemarle, Excellence Award 2014

I began my COA career as a dual-enrolled high school student in Fall 2008. After graduation I came to COA full-time.

Kenneth Jackson

Robeson CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Kenneth Jackson
Kenneth Jackson

In 2009, I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade because I simply lost interest in going. I began working here and there, never really being able to hold down a job.

Thu Vu

Thu Vu, Gaston College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Thu Vu, Gaston College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

When moving to Gastonia four years ago, I did not know what to do with my life other than what my family has set out for me - nail business. I wanted something more to satisfy my hunger for knowledge, so I took the first step by getting my GED at Gaston College.

Jody Thong

Jody Thong, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Jody Thong, Wayne Community College, Excellence Award 2013

When I read about the Medical Assisting program at Wayne Community College, I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to pursue. I applied and was accepted into the program. I love everything about this career field, and I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity to study at Wayne.

Timothy Wyatt

Timothy Wyatt, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Timothy Wyatt, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Timothy Wyatt has been selected as Mayland Community College's Academic Excellence Award recipient for 2014.

Eric Walls

Eric Walls, Pitt Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Eric Walls, Pitt Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Going back to school was a decision that was a long time coming for me. I was a bit of a rebel back in my youth and decided to forego college right after high school and instead entered the proverbial School of Hard Knocks.

Molly Swan

Molly Swan, Coastal Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Molly Swan, Coastal Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After twenty years in the Navy, I wasn’t sure what direction my life was going.  I always wanted to go to college, but as a Navy Air Traffic Controller and single mother, I could find neither the time nor the dedication necessary for academic success.  After retiring from the Navy, I struggled wi

Aimee Lessard

Aimee Lessard, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Aimee Lessard, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I had desired to go back to school for years and it was my children, now two, four, and 10 years of age, who were my motivation to do so. I wanted to prove to them, and myself, that it is never too late to better yourself.

Korey Marie Butler

Korey Marie Butler, Wake Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Korey Marie Butler, Wake Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I am a thirty-year-old, married, mother of two who is actively engaged within the community.

Thus, while researching options of where to attend college, I knew I needed a flexible and transitional environment. Therefore, attending Wake Technical Community College was my only option.

Austin Elkins

Austin Elkins, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Austin Elkins, Mayland Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My success cannot be accredited to me only, first and foremost I must thank God Almighty for allowing me the great privilege to achieve the grades and accomplishments that He has so blessed me with.  If it had not been for the loving support of my family, church, and the learning atmosphere of th

Danielle Tate-Maccaroni

Danielle Tate-Maccaroni, Blue Ridge Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Danielle Tate-Maccaroni, Blue Ridge Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After being a stay-at-home mother for five years, I enrolled in college when my son began kindergarten. I felt that the time had come to invest in my intellect and the future security of my family by pursuing a degree.

Kim Lee Taylor

Catawba Valley CC Academic Excellence Award Recipient Kim Lee Taylor
Kim Lee Taylor

There are no words that can describe how I feel about the honor that has been given me though this award.  I thank God for the grace of giving me the ability to learn, the instructors for the encouragement they gave me and my family for the patience they have had when I could not do everything th

Tyler Drew

Tyler Drew, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Tyler Drew, Southeastern Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Tyler Drew was initially drawn to Southeastern Community College by the opportunity to play on the College’s intercollegiate baseball team, but he had misconceptions about the academic rigor of community-college classes.

Gustavo Smith

Gustavo Smith, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Gustavo Smith, Guilford Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I was motivated to change my life after I held my two daughters from birth and promised their lives would not be like mine. As a single parent, I decided to enroll full-time at GTCC to accomplish my goal of becoming a community fitness educator.

Cindy Inestroza

James Sprunt CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Cindy Inestroza
Cindy Inestroza

Being a high school senior at Duplin Early College High School, while taking college courses at James Sprunt Community College has not been easy. It has taken plenty of hard work and dedication. I have learned that reaching my goals in life will not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

Elizabeth Bullock

Elizabeth Bullock, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Elizabeth Bullock, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Throughout middle and high school, “school” became a word that struck fear in my heart. As a child I was labeled as a dyslexic who struggled with reading and writing. I was told I would amount to very little in life and that college was not for everyone.

John Gibson

John Gibson, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2013
John Gibson, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I was employed at International Paper in Franklin, VA for 25 years. When the paper mill closed in 2010, I was faced with many decisions about my future. It did not take very long for me to realize that my best option was to return to school.

Kayla Schliewe

Kayla Schliewe, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Kayla Schliewe, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Deciding to come to Craven Community College has proved to be one of the best choices I could have made for myself and for my future. When I enrolled with Craven, my mother had just divorced my step-father, and my home life and finances were unstable.

Karishma P. Desai

Rockingham CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Karishma Desai
Karishma P. Desai

Karishma Desai came to RCC as a Rockingham County Early College High School (RECHS) student.

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnston, Guilford Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Gary Johnston, Guilford Technical Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

GTCC helped save my life. At 18, I joined the military, and as a result, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Left untreated, it contributed to a tumultuous twenty years. On August 7, 2013, I woke up in a hospital, suffering a traumatic brain injury from a car accident.

Tyler Cook

Tyler Cook, Western Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Tyler Cook, Western Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Success is often a mixture of small steps toward larger goals.

Stacey Jones

Stacey Jones, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Stacey Jones, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014

When I made the decision to return to school I was filled with excitement and trepidation.

Monica Spencer

Monica Spencer, Randolph Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Monica Spencer, Randolph Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

First, please allow me to begin by saying that I am a high school dropout.  I start with this information because it is an event that has set the tone for most of my adult life. In March of 2004, three years before my high school graduation, I decided to discontinue school.

William Norrell

William Norrell, College of the Albemarle, Excellence Award 2012
William Norrell, College of the Albemarle, Excellence Award 2012

I love College of The Albemarle. During my first year at COA, I was able to make the President’s list each semester, while also serving as a member of the COA Baseball Team and as Vice President of the PTK Honor Society.

Jamee Pelcher

Jamee Pelcheer, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Jamee Pelcheer, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2014

It would be an understatement to say that I was terrified to return to school after 27 years. Unexpectedly, I found myself having to close my business and facing surgery that would leave me with a long recovery.

Audi Torres

Audi Torres, Wayne Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Audi Torres, Wayne Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a nurse.  However, it took many years for me to finally work towards my dream.

Marc Cook

Marc Cook, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Marc Cook, McDowell Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After two semesters at a four-year institution, Marc realized that the college he chose was not a good match for him and went home to work in the family business while attending community college with the intention of going back to a four-year school.

Bryson Benton

Bryson Benton, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Bryson Benton, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My first three semesters at Brunswick Community College have been very successful, and I hope to continue my success during the spring and beyond. With some success has come some adversity, but these obstacles have strengthened me as a student and person.

Hunter Riggins

Central Carolina CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Hunter Riggins
Hunter Riggins

Since I was little, I have wanted to be a nurse.  The time I realized it the most, was when my great grandma became sick. I along with many other family members helped care for her around the clock.

Darrin Bark

Darrin Bark, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Darrin Bark, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2012

As a student here at Southwestern Community College, I have been liberated from my inadequacies. My instruction here has given me the necessary skills and self-assurance to continue in discovering my strengths.

Kyrian Scott

Kyrian Scott, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Kyrian Scott, Halifax Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My name is Kyrian Scott. I am thankful to be Halifax Community College’s nominee for The Great Within the 58. I previously attended another institution, but was not ready for college at the time and never earned GPA over 2.0.

Carrie Parker

Carrie Parker, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award
Carrie Parker, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award

Alamance Community College has had a tremendous impact upon my life. The faculty, students and sheer love resonating from everyone has helped me to blossom into a successful woman who will continue to journey forward after college. Through ACC, I learned that everything is possible.

Anna Pierce

Johnston CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Anna Pierce
Anna Pierce

These past two years have been a huge transition for me. Throughout high school I planned to attend a university in Florida, where I had lived all my life. During my senior year my grandfather passed, leaving my grandmother alone in North Carolina.

William Koch

William Koch, Cape Fear Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award
William Koch, Cape Fear Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award

My true measure of success comes not from my personal successes, but from the success of the many students I have had the privilege of mentoring while on my college journey. As a U.S.

Tim Franklin

Tim Franklin, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Tim Franklin, Richmond Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My path to Richmond Community College has been interesting and the timing could not have been better.  I am a Florida State graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Criminology; not knowing exactly what to do with my degree I moved home from school and went to work for my uncle in the electrical busin

Kristi Wallace

Kristi Wallace, Davidson Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Kristi Wallace, Davidson Community College, Excellence Award 2014

In high school, going to college never crossed my mind. I made bad grades, bad choices, and at the age of sixteen, I was pregnant. Though difficult, I managed to graduate with my class of 2001. After graduating, I got married and my husband and I continued our family.

Thea Flynn

Rowan-Cabarrus CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Thea Flynn
Thea Flynn

As I begin my final semester at RCCC, I am 100 pounds lighter and am astonished at my academic and personal growth.  I entered college with a love for numbers but am leaving with a much greater appreciation of who I am.  Throughout my journey, my instructors have introduced me to an eclectic worl

Krystie Pendergrass

Krystie Pendergrass, Halifax Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Krystie Pendergrass, Halifax Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Something in me changed once I entered the doors of a community college. All of my teachers were very encouraging. Upon becoming a Dental Hygiene student at Halifax Community College, I truly started to focus on my grades. I have pushed myself to make the best grades I could.

Mindy Blackburn

Mindy Blackburn, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Mindy Blackburn, Wilkes Community College, Excellence Award 2013

At nineteen, I find it difficult to think of my life as a “success story.” How can someone who has not even been alive for two decades claim such an achievement? At my age, success does not define me yet, but is something I aspire to achieve.

Marlene Clermont

Marlene Clermont, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Marlene Clermont, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Going back to school after 30 years was quite a daunting challenge for me. As a single mother of two teenagers, it was necessary for me to lead by example; therefore, failure was not an option.

Christi Miles

Christi Miles, Richmond Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Christi Miles, Richmond Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Growing up I struggled through school, so initially I decided against college. At first it was fine, but after this past recession I realized without furthering my education I would not be able to provide a decent living for my family.

Rachel Wheeler

Rachel Wheeler, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Rachel Wheeler, Craven Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After a five year hiatus from my first college experience, I began attending Craven Community College because I was ready to seriously pursue getting a degree. However, I found myself unsure of what direction I wanted to take.

Matthew Reese

Matthew Reese, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Matthew Reese, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2014

When I made the decision to return to college at age 41, it was not without trepidation.

Coley Scott Cannon

Coley Scott Cannon, Western Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Coley Scott Cannon, Western Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

The classes I have taken at WPCC have helped me gain responsibility as an individual.  I have become better at organizing my schedule, gained diligence by putting in as many hours of studying and working as needed to achieve academic success, and I am acquiring the knowledge needed to further my

Jennifer Lippel

Jennifer Lippel, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Jennifer Lippel, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Earning a college degree has always been a goal I hoped to achieve and with help from the excellent faculty and staff at Mitchell Community College I am about to see that goal realized. Not only have I gained intellectual growth while studying here, I’ve also grown as a person.

Dakota Crapps

Dakota Crapps, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Excellence Award 2013
Dakota Crapps, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Excellence Award 2013

Since I can recall, my parents have always stressed the importance of education. They told me that playing sports and participating in any other extracurricular activity would be a privilege earned by making good grades. I learned early in my education that dedication was key.

Seedy Njie

Central Piedmont CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award Recipient Seedy Njie
Seedy Njie

When I moved to the United States from Gambia, I was both nervous and excited about what the future had in store for me, so I used that as a fuel to succeed in every aspect of my life, especially in education.

Ellyn Gallagher

Ellyn Gallagher, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ellyn Gallagher, Stanly Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Throughout my childhood I suffered from school-related anxiety.  As I got older it became worse, until the point that I had to be home-schooled in high school.  During my home-schooling I had one goal, just to finish.  I did the bare minimum I could to get my high school diploma; I had no intenti

Melody Chandler

Melody Chandler, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Melody Chandler, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Winston Churchill described tenacity by saying, “Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without losing momentum” (Bureau).  Though I have always had tenacity, it has not always been of an academic nature.

William K. Riddle

William K. Riddle, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community Colleges, Excellence Award
William K. Riddle, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community Colleges, Excellence Award

Upon receiving my acceptance letter into the Radiography program at AshevilleBuncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) I instantly knew that my life, as well as the lives of my family, had positively been changed for the better. That letter was the ticket to a new start.

Leslie M. Smith

Lenoir CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Leslie M. Smith
Leslie M. Smith

The fall semester after my graduation in 2011, I started attending Salem College as a Music Education major. I soon realized a career in music was not for me. In the 2013 spring semester, I dropped to attending college part time, and after that I dropped out altogether.

Kaitlin Rae Colvin

Katelin Rae Colvin, Carteret Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Katelin Rae Colvin, Carteret Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

My journey through the Carteret Community College has been a very rewarding experience.  Through the Radiography program, I have found a love and passion for a career and I have gained experience from opportunities I never knew I would be a part of.

Madison Batten

Madison Batten, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Madison Batten, Robeson Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I really appreciate the opportunity Robeson Community College has given me to pursue my dream career as a radiographer. This field allows me to feel that I make a positive contribution to our society by providing excellent patient care in the clinical setting.

Alexandra Cox

Alexandra Cox, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014 recepient
Alexandra Cox, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014 recepient

When I transferred to Durham Tech from another university, I came with a low GPA and no plans to get involved around campus. I intended to keep my head down, do my work, and transfer to a four-year university as soon as I could.

Johna Barbour

Sampson CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Johna Barbour
Johna Barbour

Johna Barbour enrolled at Sampson Community College in the fall of 2014, following a 16-year career as a Medical Transcriptionist. The shift from manual to automated transcription led to a decline in demand for transcription services, which resulted in a layoff in May of 2014.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer, Haywood Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award
Andrew Brewer, Haywood Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award

My education at Haywood Community College started on a whim. I just transitioned out of the Marine Corps after 9 years of service and I received a flyer in the mail from HCC about upcoming registration for the 2012 fall semester.

Henry D. Beltran

Henry Beltran, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Henry Beltran, Wilson Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After retiring from the military in the spring of 2011, I found myself at a crossroad.  I finished a great career but was unsure of what I wanted to do next.  I always had an interest in office work and the medical field.  I decided to see what opportunities were available in these areas.

Sydney Williams

Sydney Williams, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Sydney Williams, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2014

A student-friendly learning environment is why I chose to attend a community college. I wanted to be more than just a number on paper. I always thought I would attend a university after high school.

George Yandle

George Yandle, Richmond Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
George Yandle, Richmond Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I am the type of person who is driven to succeed. Many people throughout my life told me I would never make it. In June 2011, I graduated from Richmond Senior High School with a GPA of 3.75.

Ann Funk

Ann Funk, Davidson Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ann Funk, Davidson Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My time at Davidson Community College has been a very fulfilling experience for me.  I have seen myself grow not only in knowledge but also in confidence and ability.  I owe most of this to the instructors, staff, and students at Davidson County Community College.  Their influence has allowed me

Gil Johnson

Gil Johnson, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Gil Johnson, Durham Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

“I’m just so thankful for Durham Tech.  I got a new start.”

Michelle Goble

Michelle Goble, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Michelle Goble, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Michelle Goble had a revelation in 2011. For a little more than a year, she had worked at Westfield Elementary School, helping kindergarten through fifth grade students with their classroom studies and then with second and third graders who needed help with reading.

Kayla Myers

Kayla Myers, Wilkes Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Kayla Myers, Wilkes Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I am a dual-enrolled student who took on the challenge of earning a high school diploma and an Associate in Science degree though Wilkes Early College High School at Wilkes Community College. The strong educational environment and supportive staff gave me a pathway to graduate with good grades.

Jerie Anne Schwehm

Jerie Anne Schwehm, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Jerie Anne Schwehm, Montgomery Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My maxim is “knowledge is power.” I believe all experiences throughout life provide knowledge that will be empowering for future events. Always strive to seek out new knowledge, gain new insights, and explore new opportunities.

Christopher S. Kennedy

Christopher S. Kennedy, Cape Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Christopher S. Kennedy, Cape Fear Community College, Excellence Award 2013

  I have never considered myself a successful person until I became a student at Cape Fear Community College. This journey has set me on a path that I would have never been able to envision for myself.

Emmanuel S. Wallace

Cleveland CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Emmanuel Wallace
Emmanuel S. Wallace

Emmanuel S. Wallace of Shelby plans to graduate with an Associate in Applied Science in Electronics Engineering Technology and transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Ethan Brown

Ethan Brown, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ethan Brown, Surry Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My early education took place at home. Being homeschooled prepared me for my college education which began at Surry Community College when I was a junior in high school. My transition to SCC was smooth since I had been dual enrolled.

Rachelle West

Rachelle West, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Rachelle West, Isothermal Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My name is Rachelle West. Along with being a full time student, I am a wife and mother. My husband and our five children are supportive of my decision to go back to school.

Vickie Wilkinson

Vickie Wilkinson, Beaufort County Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Vickie Wilkinson, Beaufort County Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Vickie Wilkinson is a School Age Education major. She will be graduating spring 2014 and as of now her cumulative grade point average is a 3.76. Vickie came to BCCC to pursue a School Age Education degree after working in the business world for 29 years.

Elizabeth Hernandez

Martin CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Elizabeth Hernandez
Elizabeth Hernandez

My experience at Martin Community College has been one-of-a-kind! Ever since I made the decision to go back to school, I knew it was not going to be an easy journey.

Chanda Sherrill

Chanda Sherrill, Catawba Valley Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Chanda Sherrill, Catawba Valley Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

When I graduated from high school in 1989, going to college was not an option because I was pregnant with my son. I had to put my educational dreams on hold and go to work so that I could take care of him. The majority of the jobs I have had were factory jobs.

Jessica Baron

Jessica Baron, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Jessica Baron, Rockingham Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My experience at Rockingham Community College began in the fall of 2009 when I was accepted into the second class of Rockingham Early College High School.  Currently, I have completed 33 credit hours at RCC and have become more mature as a college student with each semester. 

Nina Sinclair

Nina Sinclair, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Nina Sinclair, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My experience as a student attending a NC Community College has been great. I am so grateful to have had such great teachers and students to be around while attending Edgecombe Community College.

Lindita Oelfke

Sandhills CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Lindita Oelfke
Lindita Oelfke

I arrived in the United States on December 31, 2013 with extremely limited English skills. Originally from Albania, I moved here to join my husband who I had met when he was teaching at a local University.

Amanda Guevara

Amanda Guevara, Isothermal Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Amanda Guevara, Isothermal Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Earning a college degree has always been a goal of mine, one which seemed unattainable until I enrolled at ICC.

Ana Soto

Ana Soto, Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Ana Soto, Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

As a young adult fresh out of high school with the dwarfism condition known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, I was uncertain of my future.

Jessica M. Avila

Jessica M. Avila, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Jessica M. Avila, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I am a first generation Hispanic college student working to obtain an Associate in Science degree at Nash Community College (NCC). My greatest career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Biology with a concentration in a medical or animal conservation field.

Kayla Wolverton

Kayla Wolverton, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Kayla Wolverton, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I arrived at Roanoke-Chowan Community College in 2011 at the age of fourteen as a college student and a full-time high school student. I quickly discovered a few challenges; such as the class sizes were different and I had to interact with more adults than teenagers.

Brooke Bissette

Brooke Bissette, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Brooke Bissette, Edgecombe Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Brooke Bissette will graduate this May with an Associate’s Degree in Historic Preservation Trades from Edgecombe Community College.  She grew up in Wilson, NC where she now lives and works as the Children and Youth Coordinator for First Christian Church.  Prior to attending ECC, Brooke lived in W

Sheree Peters

Sheree Peters, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Sheree Peters, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I have a thirst for knowledge and an innate love of learning. I am a voracious reader and have always dreamed of going to college. Due to family issues, my educational career came to an abrupt halt, and I was forced to stop attending school in the sixth grade.

Sadie Herndon

Sadie Herndon, Wilson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Sadie Herndon, Wilson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

My name is Sadie Herndon and I am currently completing my fifth semester at Wilson Community College.  I am enrolled in the Paralegal Technology Program.  I work full-time as a waitress, attend school full-time, and am a single mother of a six-year old child named Max.  I have maintained a 4.0 GP

Alex Barnhill

Alex Barnhill, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Alex Barnhill, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After twenty years in the workforce, a downturn in the economy led to my being laid off. I decided to turn a negative into a positive and go back to school. I chose Nash Community College because of the variety of programs available.

Thomas Stroud

Thomas Stroud, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Thomas Stroud, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2013

A 32-year-old, single dad is the top student at Carteret Community College for 2013. 

Katelyn Lloyd

Coastal Carolina CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Katelyn Lloyd
Katelyn Lloyd

My interest in Coastal Carolina Community College began when I first heard of their Associate in Applied Sciences Emergency Medical Science-Paramedic Program.

Katherine Shanley

Katherine Shanley, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Katherine Shanley, Tri-County Community College, Excellence Award 2012

When I began at Tri-County in 2010, I had no real direction.  I was 61 years old, my job had just ended, and thinking about a career change at this point was not very realistic.

Daniel Derry

Daniel Derry, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Daniel Derry, James Sprunt Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I chose James Sprunt Community College because I was told they had a really good welding program and VA representative. As a veteran that was important to me. I was in the marines for four years and did two deployments overseas.

Victoria Pait

Victoria Pait, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award
Victoria Pait, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award

I would first and foremost like to thank my Creator for allowing me to have this chance to attend such a great school and for blessing me with amazing instructors.

Emilee Christian Crowder

Mayland CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Emilee Christian Crowder
Emilee Christian Crowder

Emilee Crowder, who will graduate with her Associate in Arts Degree this May, is a first generation college student who enrolled at Mayland Community College following her high school graduation.

Isaac Phillips

Isaac Phillips, Central Carolina Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Isaac Phillips, Central Carolina Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

At the age of 31, I decided to become a civilian and leave my Army life behind. Unfortunately, my skills at firing missiles were not in demand outside of the military. I needed more education and training to achieve my goal of becoming a biomedical engineer.

Douglas John Gold

Douglas John Gold, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Douglas John Gold, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Please let me start off by saying how truly surprised and honored I am for being considered for the Student Excellence Award at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC).

Natalie O'Mahoney

Natalie O'Mahoney, Fayettville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Natalie O'Mahoney, Fayettville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014

In my youth, I attended college for a semester or two, but quit. I found myself in an abusive relationship, working in a series of unsatisfying and poorly paid jobs. Escaping that part of my life, my priorities changed when I became a military spouse.

Daniel Steinberg

South Piedmont CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

I am a nontraditional student in the sense that my pursuit of a degree at South Piedmont Community College is taking place much later in life than most students.  A few years ago I retired from a career in engineering, a career that was professionally satisfying and afforded me the opportunity to

Leslie Raynor

Leslie Raynor, James Sprunt Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award
Leslie Raynor, James Sprunt Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award

My name is Leslie Raynor. I am 33 years old and am married to a welder. Together, we have four children. Before enrolling in James Sprunt Community College, my education level was only a GED. With employment becoming harder and harder to find, I decided to return to school.

Holly Bouldin

Holly Bouldin, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Holly Bouldin, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Since I began at Alamance Community College, I have noticed that the faculty and staff are always eager to help students succeed.

Frankee Gibbs

Frankee Gibbs, Pamlico Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Frankee Gibbs, Pamlico Community College, Excellence Award 2014

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."

Rachel Rena Maynor

Rachel Rena Maynor, Robeson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Rachel Rena Maynor, Robeson Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Being born and raised in the state of Maryland for 12 years, moving to Lumberton, North Carolina was a difficult transition. I overcame my culture shock and learned to adapt to my new environment by keeping an open mind and building relationships with my new teachers and people in the community.

Glorygrace Dickinson

Glorygrace Dickinson, Fayettville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Glorygrace Dickinson, Fayettville Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I am a military widow and the mother of five children. After my husband was killed in action in Iraq, I witnessed the lack of services for injured soldiers. Realizing how much I wanted to help others, I decided to go back to school to become a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA).

Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca Anderson, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Rebecca Anderson, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My name is Rebecca Anderson, and as a freshman and sophomore, I have attended Vance-Granville Community College. By the end of this spring semester I plan to have completed my Associate in Science Degree.

Janet E. Joyner

Wilson CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Janet E. Joyner
Janet E. Joyner

My experience at Wilson Community College began in spring 2012 – 25 years after graduating from high school!

Amaris Marie Kirby

Amaris Kirby, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Amaris Kirby, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Piedmont Community College. Those three words have meant so much to me these past two years.

Jill Hoerr

Jill Hoerr, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Jill Hoerr, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2013

In my early thirties, I found myself to be a single mother with a failed career. The financial hardships were overwhelming but, more importantly, my self confidence was shaken, and I questioned my ability to succeed.

Daniel West

College of the Albemarle 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Daniel West
Daniel West

College of The Albemarle has presented me with more opportunities than I could have ever imagined.  I started here in 2014 after being laid off for the first time in my life.  Truthfully, I am not sure how I found the courage to return to school after nearly 18 years, but I was encouraged because

Sharon Lark

Sharon Lark, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Sharon Lark, Vance-Granville Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My journey to higher education began, like most, with a desire to obtain a degree. I had attempted to pursue a degree several years earlier, but life got in the way. Divorce and illness put a fork in the road. My journey was derailed, but I never lost the hunger.

Austin Scott

Austin Scott, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Austin Scott, Johnston Community College, Excellence Award 2013

After graduation from NCSU in 2001, I worked in a flourishing housing economy as a draftsman until the recession of 2008. As the recession progressed, I was faced with a stagnant career in a failing housing market.

Joao Bezerra

Joao Bezerra, Blue Ridge Community College, 2014 Academic Excellence Award
Joao Bezerra, Blue Ridge Community College, 2014 Academic Excellence Award

I am Joao Washington Bezerra, and I am originally from Brazil. All my life, I was taught to be involved and help people. In Brazil, I served as a volunteer at a school in a poor community.

Ashlee Wood

McDowell Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Ashlee Wood
Ashlee Wood

I was a junior in high school when I enrolled at McDowell Tech in the fall of 2013 as a dual-credit student.  I had known for a long time that I wanted to become a teacher, because I wanted to impact the lives of children and give them a great foundation of learning at an early age.

Moza Hamud

Moza Hamud, Central Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Moza Hamud, Central Piedmont Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Growing up in Kenya, education was a privilege and not a right.

Ian Antonio

Ian Antonio, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Ian Antonio, Sampson Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Upon graduating high school, I didn’t have a definitive pathway to my future. All I knew was that my goal was to become a Software Engineer. However, I really had no idea what would be the best way to achieve this goal.

Samantha Sharp

Samantha Sharp, Forsyth Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Samantha Sharp, Forsyth Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Attending Forsyth Technical Community College was a lifesaver. In 2008, I hit an eighteen wheeler head on with my motorcycle that left me in a very dark place for years. One day I saw an ad for Forsyth Tech online.

Stacy Pukl

Southeastern CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Stacy Pukl
Stacy Pukl

When Stacy, a single mother of three boys, relocated to Columbus County a few years ago, she thought she would easily find work utilizing her bookkeeping and office administration skills gained in her previous employment, but quickly realized her opportunities were limited with only a high school

Matthew Green

Matthew Green, Johnston Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award
Matthew Green, Johnston Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award

In 2010, I graduated from Central Carolina Community College with an Associate Degree in Lasers and Photonics.  I had to look for a job outside the state due to economy.  Half a year after graduating, I found a good job in Delaware.  I packed all my things and moved to an unknown place with no fr

Terrie Crawley

Terrie Crawley, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Terrie Crawley, Bladen Community College, Excellence Award 2012

I am a 43 year old, non-traditional student working toward an associate degree in nursing at Bladen Community College. I took college preparatory classes in high school. After high school graduation, I applied and was accepted to several universities.

Michael Zizzi

Michael Zizzi, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Michael Zizzi, Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2014

My decision to go back school and pursue a nursing degree at Piedmont Community College was rooted in my desire to help people. As a former Army combat medic, I was many years removed from direct patient care and had been in medical management in various capacities for years.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews, Rockingham Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Michael Matthews, Rockingham Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

At first, I was drawn to Rockingham Community College to be a part of the baseball team, but I realized shortly after I started in the fall of 2013 that school was my priority.

Amber Blackwelder

Amber Blackwelder, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Amber Blackwelder, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

I always wanted to do something with my life, but didn’t exactly make the best plan of action to make that possible. I am twenty-nine years old, I worked in collections a few years but for the most part, I’ve been in the restaurant industry all my life.

Christopher Price

Christopher Price, Forsyth Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Christopher Price, Forsyth Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

On 4 August 2002 I left the only home I had ever known, in a small farming community in rural Kansas, to join the United States Marine Corps. I arrived in San Diego, CA and began my journey toward earning the title of Marine.

Kumar Chandrashekaran

Kumar Chandrashekaran, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Kumar Chandrashekaran, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2014

I am one of those old generations moving forward to achieve my goals and a new career through the NC Community College System.

Kimberly Thompson

Western Piedmont CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Kimberly Thompson
Kimberly Thompson

For many years I had an unrealistic fear of math and computers that locked me into believing I could never attend college.  I was terrified to even try the placement test, but a mentor, Mr. Charles Moore, said, “Face your fears,” and what sound advice that was!

Tiffany Wright

Tiffany Wright, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Tiffany Wright, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2012

My encounters on the road to Pitt Community College have been a major factor in my success today.  After receiving a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in 2008, I lived in Beirut, Lebanon, for a year and traveled in the Middle East and Europe.  Upon returning home, I spent a year-and

Seth Tom

Seth Tom, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Seth Tom, Central Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Right before I enrolled at Central Carolina Community College, I was laid off from my job.  I did not see a great deal of potential in my future.  I was tired of working dead-end jobs, and I knew I needed a college degree to properly take care of my wife and two kids.  That is why I returned to s

Arodi Grullon Fernandez

Craven CC Academic Excellence Award recipient Arodi Grullon Fernandez
Arodi Grullon Fernandez

I started at Craven Community College after I finished serving 12 years of service in the Marine Corps. My time at the college has been very high tempo, but also very rewarding. There have been many things I have done and accomplished, that I never saw coming.

Tiana Hundley

Tiana Hundley, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Tiana Hundley, Wake Technical Community College, Excellence Award 2012

During my senior year of high school, I had such a strong desire to be accepted into a University that would help me succeed in the path of entering the medical field as an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Michelle Griffin, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Eighteen years after earning a Bachelor’s degree in education, I decided to embark upon a new career in healthcare. It was a big decision to leave the teaching profession and a steady paycheck to return to school full-time.  

Sharon Callender

Sharon Callender, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Sharon Callender, Brunswick Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Like so many others, the downturn in the economy made it necessary to take a second look at how my husband and I were going to survive the second part of our lives.

Angela Johnson

Mitchell CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson

I walked into my first class on shaking knees and sat down. It wasn’t long until I heard someone say "Who’s the old chick?" I looked around for a moment and realized that, at 42 years old, I am the old chick! So, I introduced myself to my younger classmates.

Erin Pruitt

Erin Pruitt, Cleveland Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Erin Pruitt, Cleveland Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Erin Pruitt of Lawndale is the 2015 Academic Excellence Award winner at Cleveland Community College. Pruitt is graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Radiography and holds a 3.85 grade point average.

Luke Abers

Luke Abers, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2013
Luke Abers, Sandhills Community College, Excellence Award 2013

I obtained my GED through Sandhills Community College in 2007. In 2010 I enrolled at Sandhills as a student in their Surveying Technology Program.

Marjorie Heidi

Marjorie Heidi, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2014
Marjorie Heidi, Gaston Community College, Excellence Award 2014

Being healthy and physically fit is essential to performing the duties of a firefighter safely and efficiently.

Sophie Maxwell

Southwestern CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient Sophie Maxwell
Sophie Maxwell

Before I began classes at Southwestern Community College, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Becky Leon

Becky Leon, Lenoir Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Becky Leon, Lenoir Community College, 2015 Academic Excellence Award Recipient

Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to become a doctor. I did not know what kind of doctor I wanted to be. All I knew was that I wanted to help someone and maybe even save a life or two, or three, or even a hundred.

Charlotte A. Rapp

Charlotte Rapp, Blue Ridge Community College, Excellence Award 2012
Charlotte Rapp, Blue Ridge Community College, Excellence Award 2012

When I decided to return to school as a mother and working adult, I feared that I would be unable to keep up with the work. However, during my first semester at Blue Ridge Community College, I realized I had made the right decision.

LaQuon Rogers

LaQuon Rogers, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2014
LaQuon Rogers, Pitt Community College, Excellence Award 2014

When I graduated from Ayden-Grifton High School, I was excited to be college bound but apprehensive about the transition. After a very rewarding senior year as President of the Senior Class, Governor at Tar Heel Boy's State, and more, I had no idea what to expect at college.