WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Foundation celebrated student scholarship recipients and thanked donors for their generosity during a Sept. 27 reception in the Craig F. Goess Student Center’s Davenport Multipurpose Room.
Each year, the PCC Foundation awards scholarships to students in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and financial need. It also provides a limited number of grants-in-aid and special funding for educational supplies.
According to PCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Susan Nobles, the foundation has already awarded $286,075 in scholarships during the 2017-18 academic year. She says additional scholarships will be awarded during the spring and summer semesters.
“We want to encourage our students to use their scholarships wisely,” Nobles said. “Do your best, pick a great career, and go out and do something absolutely amazing.”
In addition to scholarships and endowments established and supported by individuals and organizations, much of the PCC Foundation’s financial resources are generated through fundraisers, including the Down East Holiday Show, Employee Annual Fund Drive and Fall Golf Classic.
Nobles said the organization currently has $2.2 million in scholarship funding and is hoping to double that amount in the next few years through its Accelerating the Future Capital Campaign. The goal, she said, is to raise $10 million to build the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement and increase the PCC Foundation’s funding for scholarships and programs.
In addition to Nobles’ remarks, a pair of current PCC students shared their thoughts on what scholarships mean to them personally.
Caroline Slade, a Nuclear Medicine Technology student from Belhaven, is a recipient of the PCC Foundation’s Institutional General Scholarship. Having completed a Nursing Assistant II certificate through PCC, she is working as a nursing assistant at Vidant Medical Center as she continues her studies.
“Caroline knows what she wants and will work hard and do everything in her power to get it,” said Scott Clinefelter, director of PCC’s Nuclear Medicine Technology program. “She serves as a leader in the classroom and sets the bar for what an ideal student should strive for. She’s a real go-getter.”
Slade, who is on track to graduate next summer, says the financial assistance her scholarship has provided is a tremendous help and greatly appreciated.
“… I would like to give a huge thank you to the donors that believe in us and have given us the opportunity to pursue our degrees with less worry about financial concerns,” she said. “As a student who pays for tuition out-of-pocket, this scholarship has greatly reduced my stress, not to mention taken some of the pressure off my parents, for a change.”
Slade thanked her parents for the sacrifices they’ve made to help her pursue a college education, and she noted the good advice and encouragement she has received from PCC instructors and support staff.
“I appreciate the doors of opportunity that Pitt Community College has opened for me, and if I had to choose a college all over again, I would choose Pitt Community College every time,” she said.
Welding Technology student Zach Oeding echoed those sentiments. A non-traditional student who attended college in California before enrolling at PCC, Oeding has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working at Advance Auto Parts.
His success comes as no surprise to PCC Welding Department Chair Keith Kinlaw, who said Oeding’s welding technique is consistent and “above reproach.” Kinlaw also noted Oeding’s enthusiasm for learning and willingness to help classmates and instructors.
“(Zach) happily surprises us by coming in early to lab and staying after hours in order to perfect his craft, proving time and time again, his dedication to his trade,” he said. “His maturity, welding skills, desire to succeed and dependability will carry him far in his future endeavors, especially in his welding career.”
The 28-year-old Oeding was selected to receive the Dr. Edgar Boyd Scholarship, an award established with the PCC Foundation in 1999 in memory of a longtime PCC dean of students and executive vice president. He says the scholarship funding has been “a great blessing.”
“… I have been paying out-of-pocket for every semester, for every book and for every supply I need. In welding, that can add up – and I can tell you that really takes a toll on your wallet,” Oeding said. “When you worry about money, it’s a huge distraction from school.”
Oeding said Kinlaw encouraged him this summer to apply for PCC Foundation scholarships. He said he followed the advice and it paid off soon after.
“My wife and I prayed and believed that some help would be given to us,” Oeding said. “A few months later, I get news that I was awarded a scholarship that would help with $500 a semester, and what a relief that was.
“I am so thankful and proud to be the recipient of the Edgar Boyd Scholarship and [thankful] to his family and friends for providing this scholarship to help a student like me.”
Oeding said that with the welding skills he has learned at Pitt, he will be able to find employment after graduating this spring, provide for his family, and start giving back to the community.