2022 NC Community College System Foundation Awards

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

During the Spring 2022 semester, three students were nominated for state-level awards as part of the NC Community College System foundation awards.

Dallas Herring Achievement Award

Annayeli Aguayo-Dionisio was nominated as the 2022 Dallas Herring Achievement Award recipient. The award was established in 2010 by the NCACCP to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, considered one of the founding fathers of community colleges in North Carolina.  The award is presented annually to a current or former student who best embodies Herring’s philosophy of “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go. 

Aguayo-Dionisio graduated high school as an Early College student in the Columbus Career & College Academy. She has been resilient in her educational journey from a young age.

“Since my first day at SCC, I have been nurtured, encouraged, and supported. As a Latino female with an early language barrier, I have worked hard to overcome the stigma of my background, so I can work in a male-dominated field as a master brick mason,” said Aguayo-Dionisio. “Dr. Herring’s philosophy inspires me as a brick mason apprentice. Dr. Herring even referenced masonry in his inspiring speech by saying “I think a man that can lay a brick wall, and it is straight, that is a wonderful achievement. I don’t think that society pays enough attention to expressing the quality of work”. After reading I felt a sense of pride that had been missing. My chosen career path is as important as any other.”

She continues, “I have faced many obstacles throughout my educational journey. First and foremost, was the language barrier I have faced. As a child, I couldn’t communicate with other children, and even as an adult I’m constantly learning the English language. This has made it difficult to learn even simple concepts. Others may not see it as a problem, but not being able to speak the native language has been an obstacle. But as I’ve continued to work hard and with the support of educators, I have gone from a 6-year-old that was only able to nod my head at the teacher to understand English well enough to write college-level essays.

Another huge obstacle I continue to fight is overcoming how people continue to underestimate my abilities as a young female Latina. Since my industry of choice is male-dominated, it is hard for others to have faith in me that I will do well in the industry. I continue to work hard by doing what I love.

I believe the faculty and staff at SCC truly believe in Dr. Herrings philosophy, and I’m a shining example of what can happen when people open their arms and welcome people to the community college just as they are and work along beside those people to encourage them and help them go as far as they possibly can.

Academic Excellence Award

One student from each of the 58 community colleges receives the Academic Excellence Awards.  Students must be currently enrolled, complete at least 12 semester hours in an associate degree program, and have a cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.25.  

Garrett Barnes is the 2022 Academic Excellence Award recipient at Southeastern Community College. Barnes began his education at SCC through the Columbus Career & College Academy program. He has maintained a 4.0 college-level GPA. Barnes graduated from SCC in May 2022 with degrees of Associate in Arts and Associate in Science.

“My experience at Southeastern Community College (SCC) has been nothing short of incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in classes where the instructor’s love and knowledge for the subject is evident,” said Barnes. “Even during the multitude of online classes I took during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the professors always made a point to ensure that students such as myself were able to acquire the same quality of education that we would have in any traditional class setting. Along with my educational experience, I’ve enjoyed a great experience outside of the classroom as well. There is an emphasis placed on understanding your career goals, what actions need to be taken to achieve them, and how SCC can help you along the way. I personally intend to seek further education after graduating from SCC. Had I not attended SCC and had the opportunity to explore a college setting with such an emphasis on career planning, I do not feel like I would be even remotely close to prepared as I am now.”

Governor Robert W. Scott Leadership Award

John Hudson is SCC’s 2022 nominee for the Governor Robert W. Scott Leadership Award. The award, sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, was created in 2004 to recognize student leadership on a statewide level while also honoring Scott, one of the earliest supporters of the NC Community College System and its president from 1983 – 1994. This is an award designed to highlight outstanding curriculum student leadership and service.

Hudson graduated in May 2022 with an Associate in Arts degree. He came to SCC to play for the Rams baseball team and has since been a student leader on campus. He shared, “I see my leadership style as a form of encouragement day in day out. The encouragement I bring to others is what brings out the best in myself and in my peers. No matter what, I always try to smile, because a smile to someone can make a significant difference in their day.”

“Leadership development is critical for students preparing to enter the workforce,” said Dr. Chris English, President. “At Southeastern Community College, we encourage students to develop and grow their leadership abilities by participating in our various campus clubs and organizations. John has immersed himself in student life on campus and is a stellar example of a student leader. John was instrumental in holding the SCC Baseball team together during Fall of 2021 while the college searched for a new baseball coach. He worked with his teammates in the gym, on and off the field, to build resilient young men. John sacrificed his own time to ensure that the Rams Baseball team has a leader and was ready for the Spring 2022 season.” 

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