2013

2013

John Gibson

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.

Tyler Cook

Tyler Cook, Western Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2013

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

Dakota Crapps

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.

Gustavo Smith

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.

Tim Franklin

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

Mindy Blackburn

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.

Ari Saint-Lot

Ari Saint-Lot, Cape Fear Community College

After five years in the U.S. Navy, Ari Saint-Lot relocated to North Carolina and was looking for a new career, but wanted more than just a "regular" job. After two years at Cape Fear Community College, he got it.

Christopher S. Kennedy

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.

Kyrian Scott

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.

Madison Batten

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.

Henry D. Beltran

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.

Thomas Stroud

Thomas Stroud, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2013

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

Melody Chandler

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.

Jessica Baron

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. 

Deon Selby

Deon Selby, Central Piedmont Community College, Excellence Award 2012

For Deon Selby, returning to Central Piedmont Community College in summer 2010 seemed like one of life’s natural progressions. Not only had he previously earned his GED from the College in 1997, but his uncle and mother were alumni of the institution as well.

Jill Hoerr

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.

Rachelle West

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.

Douglas John Gold

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).

Joel Antonie

Joel Antoinie, Cleveland Community College

For Joel Antonie, the idea of attending college was definitely something he wanted to pursue, but wasn’t sure how  to make it work following high school as he began travelling with his family between the Netherlands and the United States. Thanks to Dr.

Seth Tom

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

Daniel Derry

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.

Austin Scott

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.

Ian Antonio

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.

Roddy Ray

Roddy Ray, Haywood Community College, Excellence Award 2013

Roddy Ray, 1977 Haywood Community College Horticulture graduate, has a passion for growing plants that stems all the way back to childhood. She remembers working with both her grandmothers in flower beds and gardens.

Riyam Al Ghrary

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.

Michelle Griffin

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.  

Luke Abers

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.

Jason McDaris

“I’m amazed at who I’ve become because of Wake Tech.”

At 32, Jason McDaris is about to get married, just bought his first home, and has a career that’s on the fast track. It’s the kind of life he once thought was out of reach. As a high school dropout in Florida, Jason earned his GED and went to work operating surveying equipment.

Shane Chase

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.

Carley Williams

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.

Jeremy Keith Pitt

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.

Jennifer Rice

Jennifer Rice, Coastal Carolina Community College, Excellence Award 2013

My early mentor is an amazing nurse who reached out to me as a teen and provided a sofa for me during my difficult youth.  I am currently enrolled in Coastal’s Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program, and my goals include graduation, licensure, and subsequently earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursin

Lisa Elliott Shelton

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

Avneet Nagra

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.

Zaman Rashid

Zaman Rashid, Central Piedmont Community College

“I consider myself a servant student leader.

Chelsea Smith

Chelsea Smith, College of The Albermarle, Excellence Award 2013

I chose College of The Albemarle’s Associate Degree Nursing (A.D.N.) program because of its incredible reputation as one of the best in the state.  I packed up my life and drove 4 hours north to the tiny town of Elizabeth City with one thing in mind – doing whatever it takes to become an RN.  Sin

Darin Aldridge

Darin Aldridge, Mitchell Community College, Excellence Award 2013

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

Anthony Heltsley

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.

Brian Pham

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. 

Nicole Mena

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.

Sheila Menendez

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.

William Dennis

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.

Kaitlyn M. Raitano

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.

Crystal Overcash

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.

LaShonda M. Caine

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.

James Tillman Cockerham

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.

Andrew Marshall

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.

Erin Souther

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.

Amber Pegram

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.

Holly Blackman

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.

Brett D. Ange

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.

James Patrick Philips

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.

Diana Gonzalez

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.

Rita Hatzimimis

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).

Jessica Cain

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.

Tiana Bombard

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.

Blake Herring

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.

Joseph B. Cooley

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

Danielle Tate-Maccaroni

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.

Daniel Clark

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

Rebecca Pulido

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.

Jody Thong

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.

Bryson Benton

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.

Aubrey Gardner

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.