Success Stories

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

Gietzen-Neiss Family

“My family is a walking advertisement for Central Carolina Community College,” said Kimberly Neiss, a single mother of 10.

Neiss and five of her children have all graduated from or are still attending the college.

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.

“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.

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.

Amanda Sutphin, Wilkes Community College

Wilkes Community College graduate Amanda Sutphin got a head start on her criminal justice career through the Cooperative Education program. A 2013 Criminal Justice graduate, Amanda was recognized for program excellence during the 2013 Student Awards Ceremony.

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.

“I am determined to succeed at Edgecombe and in life.”

Ruben O’Neal, a Collision Repair and Refinishing student at Edgecombe Community College, is taking advantage of every opportunity to learn. In addition to his course work at Edgecombe, he works as an intern at Doug Henry Ford, an auto dealer in Tarboro, N.C.

Shane Cooper, Catawba Valley Community College, Excellence Award 2012

As an entrepreneur breaking into an unconventional industry, Shane Cooper has stopped nothing short of putting the pedal to the metal – literally.

Amber Glancy, Carteret Community College, Excellence Award 2012

As a first-year college student navigating her way through an unfamiliar college process, Amber Glancy has had no trouble defining her success – and her future.

Kit Campbell, Beaufort County Community College, Excellence Award 2012

After working in the construction industry for some years, Kit C. Campbell enrolled in the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Beaufort County Community College with the goal of serving as a reserve law enforcement officer.

Kristen Thompson, Alamance Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Growing up as the daughter of an electrical engineer father and a draftsperson mother, Kristen Thompson had an obsession with floor plans.

So when she enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as an accounting major, Thompson knew she was doing something wrong.

Raeca Mary Igno, James Sprunt Community College

Raeca Mary Igno has overcome language and cultural barriers to succeed at getting an education at James Sprunt Community College. Originally from the Phillipines, Reaca followed her parents to the United States in June 2008.

Raymond Howard, Lenoir Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Raymond Howard of Kinston is a 2005 Lenoir Community College Human Services graduate. He started his first day at work as a Health Care Technician I at Caswell Center a couple of years ago.

Jammie Wacenske, Nash Community College, Excellence Award 2012

Nash Community College graduate Jammie Wacenske is headed to law school.

Since she was five years old, Wacenske, of Nashville, N.C., has wanted to be a lawyer. And this fall, she will begin making that dream a reality.

Jonathan Gass, Southwestern Community College, Excellence Award 2012

The same month Jonathan Gass graduated from Southwestern Community College with an associate degree in electronic engineering technology he started working full time at Duke Energy as a distribution engineering associate.


When Western Piedmont Community College was chartered in 1964, the college vowed to serve as a resource to its community.

That vow remains at the forefront of the college’s mission.  That’s why, in 2006, WPCC established its first Interpreter Education Program.

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.

Wendy Stephens

Wendy Stephens has been an office manager, a stay-at-home mom, and a church volunteer. Now, she can add chef to that list. Wendy is the newest pastry chef at The Matthews House special event venue and Patisserie Catering in Cary.  “I’ve always loved baking,” she says.

David Winger, Wake Technical Community College

When ABB, an international leader in power and automation technologies, offered a co-op position to Wake Tech student David Winger, the company strengthened an already-powerful partnership.

“My experience at Wake Tech was life changing. The college helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do.”

At 30, Candis Parker is enjoying a new career – one that she was surprised to find she wanted! Candis was an event planner and interior designer when she came to Wake Tech in 2011.


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