Kassandra Ciriza Monreal, a student at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, was named the recipient of the 2023 Governor Robert Scott Leadership Award by the North Carolina Community College System.
The award was established in 2004 by the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents to recognize student leadership on a statewide level while also honoring former Governor Bob Scott. Scott served as the State’s chief executive from 1968 to 1972 and was president of the System from 1982 to 1995.
The award highlights outstanding curriculum student leadership and service -- all of which Monreal encompasses.
“Kassandra’s personal story is one of triumph over challenges, and that positive outlook also helped her as she learned a new language and integrated into a new culture,” said Randolph Community College Interim President Elbert Lassiter. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Kassandra as a student at RCC, and we know her future is very bright. We are so proud of her.”
Monreal arrived in the U.S. in 2019 unaware of the profound challenges she would face – the biggest was learning a new language.
“My motivation to grow was greater than any adversity,” she said in her award essay. “I completed the English as a Second Language course and have since become an ambassador for second languages. Today, I can proudly say I am bilingual, and sharing my knowledge of Spanish with others is one of the things I enjoy the most.”
Monreal became a tutor at Randolph to help students facing the same challenge.
“Being a tutor meant giving back to the community that had reached out to me when I thought all doors were closed. Now, more than ever I know that the passion for learning is the difference between conformity and self-improvement,” she said. “Our minds can achieve incredible things. The first step is to believe in ourselves. We must train ourselves with ‘yes you can,’ with ‘keep going,’ and ‘don’t give up.’”
This is the first time a student at Randolph Community College has been selected for the Governor Robert Scott Leadership Award. Applications are reviewed by a committee at the System and awarded every spring semester.