WINTERVILLE—After abandoning plans for a traditional, on-campus celebration due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pitt Community College administrators announced the recipients of this year’s Academic Excellence Awards.
With classes being delivered online, employees working from home and campus closed to the public due to the virus, PCC officials decided to proceed with honoring more than 50 top students immediately. A ceremony was originally planned for March 20.
“We wanted to hold a program for students and their family members, and we held out for that to happen as long as we possibly could,” said PCC President Lawrence Rouse. “But with classes being taught online until the end of spring semester and no way of knowing how long social distancing protocols will be in place, we determined it was time to move forward with recognizing these outstanding students.”
Each spring, faculty and staff nominate students for Academic Excellence Awards in recognition of classroom achievement and service to campus and the community. Prior to this year, award recipients were celebrated during an on-campus ceremony that featured remarks from college personnel and the presentation of special medallions crafted by PCC Machining Technology students. This year’s recipients will receive their medallions by mail within the next few weeks, along with certificates commemorating their achievement.
PCC’s celebration of academic excellence is also a chance for the college to present special honors to students like Caroline Puerto, who was Pitt’s selection to receive a State Academic Excellence Award from the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS). Puerto, a high school senior nearing completion of a two-year college transfer degree through the state’s Career and College Promise program, has a 4.0 GPA and is an officer with PCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society chapter. She received $250 through the award.
Sierra Barker received the 2020 President’s Award worth $500 from the PCC Foundation. A business administration student, Barker is a PTK member and Dean’s List student with a 3.8 GPA. She also volunteers with her church and in the community.
Division Awards were presented to students Hannah Baines (Arts and Sciences), Heather Hall (Business), Jade Born (Construction and Industrial Technology), Amy Tysinger (Health Sciences) and Erica Mosca (Public Services and Fine Arts). Each student received $250 through the honor.
Awards were also given to students Brenda Campbell, Douglas James and Arthur Morrisey for excellence in developmental studies courses. Campbell and James received $125 each for their awards, while Morrisey, a Dean’s List student and member of several student honors organizations, received $250, since he also earned a PCC Academic Excellence Award.
Rebekah Williams, a member of Pitt’s intercollegiate softball team, and baseball’s Noah Jones—both University Transfer students—received Student-Athlete Awards worth $250 in recognition of their classroom success.
University Transfer student Curtisia Canady was named PCC’s nominee for NCCCS’s Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award, which highlights an outstanding curriculum student for leadership and service while honoring a former North Carolina governor. Canady, a VISIONS participant and Bruiser’s Crew student mentor, has served as president of the PCC Student Government Association throughout the current academic year.
Regan Vellen, an Associate in Science student, was announced as Pitt’s nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award from NCCCS. Named for the man many consider the “Father of the N.C. Community College System,” the award is presented to a current or former student who best embodies Herring’s mission to carry people from where they are to as far as they can go.