Success Stories

North Carolina's community colleges are creating success for students across the state.

Randolph CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Pitt CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Piedmont CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Pamlico CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Nash CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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

Montgomery CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Mitchell CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

McDowell Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Mayland CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Martin CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Lenoir CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Johnston CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

James Sprunt CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Isothermal CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Halifax CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Guilford Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Gaston College 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Forsyth Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Fayetteville Technical CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

Edgecombe CC 2016 Academic Excellence Award recipient 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.

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