Guilford Technical Community College

Guilford Technical Community College


(crowd noises) – Good evening, everyone. My name is Randy Parker
and I’m president here at Guilford Technical Community College and I want to thank you for
joining us this evening. The Student Exits Award
Ceremony honors our students who have excelled academically, contributed to GCC and
in their communities and are working to achieve their goals, students who placed in regional
and national competitions or who have met rigorous
academic standards are also recognized for their
achievements this evening. Tonight I’d like to
recognize two special guests that we have with us. First, our board chair, Susan Awl. Susan Awl. (audience applause) Dr. Darrell Saunders from
our state board is here, all the way from Raleigh! (audience applause) But he actually lives in
Archdale and has a granddaughter here in our nursing
program I think, right? Yeah, so thank you, thank
you both for being here. Tonight, I am pleased
to introduce our speaker who is a graduate at GTCC
and is doing great things in this community. When Gustavo Smith became a father, he made a promise to himself
and to his two daughters that he would give them a
better life than he had had. A native of Arizona, Gustavo
fell into the wrong crowd in his early teens and joined a gang. His choices eventually
landed him in prison and he served 10 years
for aggravated robbery but the birth of his first born, Alecia, followed by the birth of the
second daughter, Brianna, two years later sparked a new beginning. Becoming a father transformed
Gustavo from a man with a difficult past and no direction to a college-bound loving
father with a mission. His first step toward
fulfilling his promise was enrolling at GTCC in Spring 2011. As a single parent, he
struggled to balance work, school and raising two baby girls. There were times he didn’t
have transportation, he couldn’t afford childcare. He and his daughters were
even homeless at one point living out of his van
during his first semester but Gustavo never lost his faith; he stayed determined and persevered. In 2013, Gustavo graduated
with honors and received an Associates Degree from GTCC and four years ago, he sat
where you are sitting tonight and received the 2013
Academic Excellence Award from the North Carolina
Community College System which recognizes one
student from each of the 58 community colleges for their achievements. During his time at GTCC, he served as a fatherhood
advocate for Triad Baby Love Plus and a community help coach for
NC Help Start Organization. He used his story as a single parent to inspire other fathers to
take on a more active role in the life of their
children and their community. He even spoke on Capitol Hill advocating for continued funding for
organizations providing family care services. He continues to support and
serve as a fatherhood advocate for North Carolina Baby Love Plus and the North Carolina
Children’s Home Society. Gustavo went on to graduate
with honors from ANT University and with a Bachelor’s Degree
in social work in 2016. Today he is the executive
director of his own non-profit organization, CLOUD Inc., which stands for Community
Leadership Organizing Unity and Development. Through CLOUD, Gutavo and
his team of fellow graduates continue to serve local communities in creating youth leadership offering community leader support, providing training for
transformative thinking and an empowerment process
for underprivileged families. In addition, he is a health educator for Piedmont Health Services, Sickle-cell Agency in Highpoint where he provides educational training for teens in a teen
pregnancy prevention program. He remains actively
involved with his community. His outreach includes
empowering at-risk youth, families and an incarcerated parent, returning citizens, juvenal
offenders and ex-gang members. Let’s please join us in welcoming Gustavo as our guest speaker
tonight, what a great story. Thank you! (audience applause) – All right. Thank you, thank you, thank
you for the warm welcome. I really do appreciate the
opportunity, the chance, to come here tonight and talk to you all. Just today my daughters and I was at the Sheet’s Gas Station
right up the street and it’s still kind of
funny that I do remember when we were in the
van and my van shut off right there at that same
Sheet’s Gas Station. The more I tried to turn that thing on, it just wouldn’t go nowhere. So what winded up happening
is that’s the same time they actually repossessed our van and me and my daughters
were sitting out on the curb with all our stuff and I had no money, I didn’t have no
resources and at the time, I know I had tried to find
a place for us to stay within Guilford County, but unfortunately, they didn’t have a place they
would house a single father with two baby girls and here I am sitting
over there at Sheet’s and I’m like, “Oh Lord,
what am I going to do now? “All our stuff is out here,
I got my daughters with me.” It just so happened that
I came back to my family which is GTCC and I went
in and I told them I said, “Okay, I haven’t really told y’all “what was going on with me, “but let me tell you what’s going on.” So I told them what had happened. Couple hours later, the church was called. They came, picked us up, put
all our belongings in the car and took us down to the hotel and that’s how I eventually
started getting back on my feet. See, at the time I was very discouraged because all I really wanted
to do was get an education. After having done 10 years in prison, I knew that the opportunities
for me to find a good job out here was very slim because
a lot of people don’t like to take chances on somebody’s
been in prison before and I felt that, you know, if
I could get a good education, I could finally provide a
better life for my daughters. I did have some family
support but family, basically, were in the same position I was in, they really didn’t have it to help me and at the time when I
started going here to GTCC, I had the issue of I was driving a cab and I had to have my daughters, well, driving the cab with my
daughters in there with me. Now, imagine driving a cab with
a newborn baby in the front (laughs) and my other daughter in the back and she was in Pull-Ups so I’m
changing Pull-Ups over here, changing Pampers over here,
feeding a bottle here, giving food back over here,
just picking people up and so on and so forth; it
was one thing after another but I stayed determined. I stayed determined to
make something of myself and I stayed determined
to stay here at GTCC even despite the hard road I had in order to continue my education even walking all the
way down Highpoint Road, it was called Highpoint Road at the time, now it’s called something else but… (audience laughter) Walking from the hotel all
the way here to get to class or I’d have to, because I had a late class and the bus didn’t run,
I went back to Highpoint, I had to walk back all
the way to Highpoint to get back to the hotel, but it was a minor inconvenience
and I did sweat a lot and it was definitely a
struggle trying to walk that far but I’m very happy that I made a decision to stick with my education. In going back to thinking
about what started this all even before I had the issues I was facing with being homeless
and so on and so forth, I remember thinking about
my life as it used to be. See, sometimes, you know, a hero could be in our midst
and you would never even recognize him for or her
for who they really are. In my case, if I go back to tell you about the very beginning, as you know, I’m from Arizona and my
playground at the time back when I was younger was
playing with tumbleweeds and we had pets like horny
toads and rattlesnakes. Actually, my first job
was rattlesnake hunting. I used to go out with my uncle and we used to pul rattlesnakes out by the tail and they used to chop
that rattlesnake head off and cut the rattlesnake open. We used to make belts and
boots out of snakeskin. That was my first job. (laughs) Then after that I also
remember my uncle used to also take us out in the
desert for what would be my second job which was really to cover up for the first job. See, being born or
living around the border of the United States and Mexico, there’s basically three trades. There’s human trade, there’s
drug trade and gun trade. Well, my family happened to
be involved in all of that so naturally, me being
a young family member, things that I couldn’t really escape from. I know that one of those times, well, there was a few times but
I tried to question that and questioning family
about that kind of lifestyle is not something that you do, so I learned real quick
not to do that anymore. But the memories I have of that was the second job was to
go out in to the desert and pretend like we
were putting out fences to mark property, but really what we were
doing is going out there to see if we can find a family member or somebody might have come up and said, “We have some family that
tried to cross the desert “and we don’t know where they’re
at, we haven’t seen them.” and I used to go out into
the desert with my uncle and we’d go hunting to
see if we could find them. I don’t know if you’ve
ever had the experience of knowing what 130 degree
heat does to a human body, but first images I’ve ever
had of what I’d call a hero was this mass of charred
remains of a woman holding on for her child
and that smell, unbearable, but I’ll never forget that to this day because when I looked down at her and I was thinking to myself, “Jesus, “what in the world is this?” And I was thinking to myself, “Okay, well, “she’s definitely a hero to me “because she was still holding
on to her child despite.” Now that kind of tragedy or
extraordinary type situation seemed to follow me from that moment on. I winded up leaving home at nine years old because I got tired of being
with an abusive father. See my thing with my dad was my father was from the West Virginia coal miners, that’s what he was, where he was from, but he wanted to move to Arizona to work in the copper mines. That’s where he met my mother. My father has Egyptian,
Ghanan and Swedish blood. My mom is Guatemalan and Brazilian, so yes, I represent a few continents. (audience laughter) But I was always fearful of my father because of the way he disciplined us. He had that old-school
discipline structure about him and one time he told me, “Well,
if you don’t like the rules “and regulations of my
house, you can get out.” and that’s exactly what I did. I did that at nine years old, same age as my oldest daughter right now. Can’t imagine the kind
of people that I met at nine years old who was
pretending to be my friends. I could tell you about
the other heroes I met. Young girls that was around my age, witnessing what abuse and
horrors they went through at an age when I wasn’t
able to do anything for them or help them and it dawned on me at that young age that nobody really cares about anybody but me because I was a runaway, I was no good. They didn’t have Amber Alerts
or anything like they do now so there was a lot of us out
on the street at that time and one thing led to another
and I wound up having a resentment towards men in general, even actually being
taken in to a house where sex was the trade of the day and the lady he took me
in winded up becoming like my second mother. Now, ironically, she had a degree and I believe it was in Sociology and she used to go around teaching women about international rights, talking about their rights as a US citizen and most of the females
that lived in the house were all sold in to the sex slave industry and the scars, not only
physically but emotionally that I saw living at that house, basically made painted
the image of the world being very cruel, very nasty. It was very hard for me to kind of think that maybe things would change for me and I was very disgusted with the world and what the world was capable of doing to people like us living there. Eventually, she was
the one that taught me, “I don’t want you to have anything to do “with this kind of lifestyle. “What I want you to do is go to school.” and she forced me to read. She forced me to sit down
and work math problems out. She taught me business that she knew. She would come and say,
“What is cornucopia?” I was like, “What’s that, some
type of candy or something?” (audience laughter) But she used to test me
because she said that Malcolm X told her that education was a passport to the future. It belongs to those who
prepare for it today. Now I said, “Malcolm X told you that?” And she was like, “Yeah,” but
see, I liked to read stuff about Malcolm X at that
time, so she used that in a way to kind of get my attention so that I would know that
get educated, get educated, get educated, that’s what
she was trying to tell me. Well, a few years after that,
she ended up passing away. She was on a trip
somewhere, India, I believe, and the last I heard was
that because she was talking about international rights to women who were basically property,
they were all killed, her and the girls on the
third floor were all killed so I winded up leaving that house and going back home for a little while and I winded up going
back on the street again because when I went home, nothing changed but my father’s situation and I decided, I said, “Okay, well, if you’re
not going to change and it’s “going to be the same was
in my house as always been, “as much as I’ve been through, “then I’m just going to leave again.” Leaving out, I winded up
being embraced by guys who felt just like I did, they felt like they didn’t
have a spot in the world. They felt isolated, alienated, squandered lives, discriminated against. Racial oppression was real
during that time because see that was mixed. It took Micheal Jackson
and Prince to come out to make mixed guys have
some kind of favor. (audience laughter) I always say that, but in the beginning, it wasn’t like that. I was always treated as an
outcast because I was mixed and I was always an object
of being bullied and so on and so forth so when I
finally met a group of guys who were just as fed up as I was, it tractioned me to remain with them because well, it was a lot easier. See, there’s two types
of education that I know that I’ve already had. One is a formal type of education that you heard already
from my introduction as far as what I did during school, but then there’s the informal which, when I was younger, was
more prevalent than formal. So because of that, I
winded up thinking that I can embrace the attitudes
of all of those around me even though they’re all negative
because those are the only images that I had in my mind. They were the ones I was
most comfortable with. They were the ones that I
knew that I could excel at. Well, that didn’t bring
me much luck either. I would say my third job
was joining a 12 man group, elected because of my ability to go out into enemy territory, so to speak, and as a result of all of that, I’m the only one left
living out of 12 of us. Three of them I, my
homies, closest homies, I held in my arms while
they took their last breath. Now, thinking about how that tragedy should have changed me, should have knocked me
upside the head like, “Boy, do something better with yourself!” that’s not what happened. I became more resentful,
I became more angry, more frustrated until
finally I ended up resorting to things like drugs in order
to kind of make me feel better or I started doing
activities and behaviors that eventually ended
up putting me in prison. In prison, that whole
thing about rehabilitation? I hate to say it but in
most cases, it’s a joke and the reason why that’s the
case is prison’s a punishment. Rehabilitation in prison
only comes when the person realizes that enough is enough. You ever heard that expression, “I’m sick and tired of
being sick and tired?” (chuckles) Well that’s the
same way it is in prison, you know, in order for you to get the kind of rehabilitation to come out into society and do something with yourself, you have to get to the point
where you’re just tired of being tired and I
know millions of dollars go into the prison system and probably because officials don’t like
for me to tell the truth about rehabilitative programs in prison, but they’re honestly a joke. The reason why a lot of us that
come out of prison come out and wind up coming back
in is because you learn no real coping skills. You don’t know where to turn
to when you can’t find a job. You don’t know who to turn to
when you’re feeling depressed or when you want to do as
I did, just be a father. Out of all the jobs I ever had in my life, the job of being a father
is the best one for me. I never, ever experienced anything that gave me so much joy in my life. As I look at my daughters
thinking how hard the world has been since I been out of prison, I can also look at them, see them in their beds at night time with their little faces
and their eyes shut and I’m thinking to
myself, “You know what? “I didn’t do too bad, I really didn’t.” (audience applause) So in saying that, I would like all of you, see, you can’t make excuses for not being your own hero or being a hero to somebody else, regardless of the situations
or life circumstances that you’ve been through, you know, there are ways out. It takes for you to reach
outside of yourself sometimes and reach out to somebody
else and tell your story. See, all of us have stories in here. My story is not the only story here. In some cases, extraordinary
because I’ve been living through extraordinary circumstances but, at the same time, I know
that what I went through was for a reason. It’s for that I can be in a
position like I am right now standing right here in front of you knowing what you all just heard about me, seeing and hearing the results and hoping that nobody in
here will be able to judge another person if they
said, “You know what? “I been in prison.” or, “You
know what, I’m homeless.” or “You know what? I need your help,” or “You know what? I been
discriminated against” or “I feel marginalized”
or “I feel depressed.” It’s because those of you here tonight who are about to be honored
for your academic achievements, you all are heroes. I admire you all because I
wish I would have been able to be that kind of hero at
your age instead of having that thought at my age now! (chuckles) But, I encourage you all to do like I did. Tell your story. Go out there and empower somebody else who really needs to be empowered. There’s a whole generation
of youth around us living in communities
that suffer the same kinds or close to the same
types of circumstances that I did coming up and
they need somebody there. You struggle to get to where
you are now academically and there’s others that would appreciate if you came and showed them a better image especially when it comes
to an educational pursuit because some of us, with the
images we’re surrounded by in our environment, it’s
too easy to succumb to them and therefore, repeat
a perpetual cycle that, instead of empowering our youth,
it actually destroys them. I could have easily been destroyed, but it took faculty,
it took administrators, it took people who were
in the oddest places to be able to tell me, “Look, I do care. “I do want to help and this
is what I’m going to do.” So I encourage all of you in here who are about to come up on
this stage and get an award to make sure you do the same thing. Pass that on to somebody else. Don’t let this just be a memory for you. Turn this memory into something memorable for somebody else to follow. The last time I was up here on stage, and I came here to get my
Academic Excellence award, my daughters were a lot
smaller than they are now but they would not sit in the seat. They had to come up here on stage and shook everybody’s hands too! (laughs) But that memory stayed ingrained in me and it pushes me every day. See, it’s easy for somebody who is used to or accustomed to or been
introduced to the other side of negativity to remain that way, but it takes a lot more
courage, a lot more bravado, a lot more hero to do the opposite. That’s what I encourage
all of you all to do. So I hope you all enjoyed my story and I encourage all of
you to not only be heroes but go out and mentor your youth as well. Thank you. (roaring applause) – Thank you, Gustavo, for your comments. You’re an inspiration to all of us and we’re so proud of you! – Good evening, my name
is Dr. Allison Weirs and I’m the associate vice-president of Student Support Services. This evening we are talking about students from different clubs and organizations. Our clubs and organizations
offer our students the opportunity to be involved
in educational experiences outside of the classroom. As a result, the students who are in clubs and organizations have an
opportunity to participate in many activities such as volunteer work, fundraising and academic competitions. The students that we’re going
to introduce to you tonight are students that have
been a part of regional or national academic competitions and have also had the
opportunity to achieve academic credentials that have
given them the opportunity to be a part of organizations
with selective membership. So for our first
introduction this evening, I’d like to introduce Barrie Cross and have her come and
introduce some of the students that have received awards this evening. – My name is Berrie Cross, I’m the Director of
Student Life here at GTCC and it’s my pleasure to
recognize the recipients of the nationally recognized
Who’s Who Amongst Students in American Colleges and Universities. Will those students
please join me on stage? In order to receive this award, the students must meet
eligibility criteria. Students must have completed
at least 24 semester credit hours in an Associate’s
Degree program including 15 semester credit hours at GTCC, been enrolled for at least
two consecutive semesters prior to the current semester, maintained the GPA of 2.8 or higher and are currently enrolled in at least four semester credit hours. They’re going to stay on
stage and then y’all can clap for them at the end, how about that? Chelsea Brown. (muffled speech) Donya Herring. Jennifer Lee. Sharon McGregor. Cedric Ruff. Katie Turner. Paige Turner Jr. And Jamie Tuttle. Please join me in
congratulating the recipients of Who’s Who Among Students. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Jason W. Johnson. I’m a professor with
English and Humanities. I’m also advisor for Phi Theta
Kappa, our honor society, and I’m a nominator which
sounds a lot more impressive than it is, for two scholarships,
national scholarships. One is called thee All USA College, Academic Community College Scholarship and one is called the Coca-Cola Community College
Academic Scholarship. We normally nominate between
one and two students. This year we have one student, the competition is actually fairly fierce. In order to be nominated by
me and usually a committee of two or three other people. They have to meet
certain academic criteria and they have to write an
essay responding to a prompt and I’ll just read the prompt,
it’s very short, don’t worry. “Describing your most significant endeavor “since attending community
college in which you applied “your academic or intellectual skills “from your community college education “to benefit your school,
community or society.” We’re looking for, when we read these
essays from our students, we’re looking for a
particular type of student, the student who has an
idea of community service and find ways to incorporate
what they learned here and the kind of service
they do in their community or in the case of our nominee this year, in another community. Mondonna Deldgie, would
you like to come up please? (audience applause) Mondonna Deldgie went on a mission’s trip, what, two years ago? This past summer. I actually did your research, I promise. Went on a mission’s trip this
past summer to Pittsburgh in which she was a part
of a two church project that created a sports camp for children. She was also during the evenings,
I don’t think they slept, but during the evenings they also did community service work. They prepared meals with
another church for patients and parents at the Ronald
McDonald House in Pittsburgh. They did community beautification projects and they put on a festival
for children as well. She claims in the essay and
I’m willing to believe her, that she learned a great
deal from the professors on how to be a leader, how to deal with difficult situations, and how to be more organized. So, please join me in congratulating her for being nominated for– (audience applause) – Good evening everybody. My name is Patrick Sanecki
and I’m an assistant professor in the Culinary Arts and
Hospitality Management program. We’re going to be honoring
our Culinary Knowledge Bowl Champions tonight. For those of you if you read
the little snippet in there, what it is is kind of
a high-paced Jeopardy style competition because
to be a good chef, you need more than just
a good pair of these, you need one of these too. So they go through thousands
and thousands of pages of texts to prepare for this competition. We’ve been preparing since August, three, four, five times a week, weekends, nights, holidays getting
ready for this competition which was in the beginning
of February in New York City. This is the first team from GTCC to win in its first attempt. Usually it takes two tries
for them to get there. It just shows the level of commitment that these women put in this evening. The ACF is the American
Culinary Federation and that’s the nation’s
largest chef organization which holds this
competition in every region, so there’s four regions
similar to you guys all love basketball, same concept. Final four and as of this evening, in February, they’re on the final four ballot. I do want to do a quick
story about our captain who is actually not here
because she’s working. Her restaurant, right towards
the end of the competition, went out of business
and as soon as we won, I got a call from one of
the local country clubs and said, “Hey, congratulations
on your success, “I want to hire one of your students.” I said, “Okay, somebody you looking for?” “I want somebody from the team.” “Okay, I have a student
who just lost their job. “How about this person?” “Great, send ’em in.
We’ll get ’em started.” I said, “How did it go?
How was the job interview?” “Oh, there wasn’t an interview,
her hired me on the spot. “I’m working tomorrow.” (audience laughter) So that’s kind of a testament
to the level of success and recognition that our
program has in the community and what this is kind of build students and building the rest of their knowledge. I also want to send a special thanks to our co-coach, Michelle Perry. Without her, we wouldn’t be
able to get where we were with helping me get them
prepared between our two jobs and everything else we’re doing, so I’d like to bring all
of them up that are here so we can recognize them. And this July, so set your calendar, July 11th and nine o’clock in the morning, we’ll be competing
against three of the four past national champions in Orlando and we are going to Disney,
as they would say, so… (audience laughter) We have Haley Bird, Brisa Clark, (muffled speech) (audience applause) – Okay. My name is Melissa Maley. I’m an associate professor
in the Humanities Department and I’m coordinator of the North Carolina Global Scholars Program. Tonight we’re honoring our
global scholar graduates for their distinction in this program that’s really a pilot program. Nine other community colleges in the state are doing this program in
conjunction with World View out of Chapel Hill. To graduate in this program, our students have to complete
five globally focused courses with a 3.0 GPA or higher. In addition, they have
to attend eight hours of international campus events. And if that isn’t enough,
they also have to complete a 30 hour study abroad or in-state global learning service project and then finally, to cap it all off, and many
of them are doing this, actually, tomorrow, they
do a capstone presentation before the whole college so we’re very proud of these graduates and if the ones that
are here, would come up. We have 10 graduates
this year in the program and it looks like five
of you are here tonight. Oh, six, Baxter, you’re here, yay! (muffled speech) (laughter) (muffled speech) Congratulations, I’m very
proud of all of them. (audience applause) – Good evening. I’m Carla Cole, allergy sufferer and (audience laughter) faculty advisor to the
Model United Nations Club. Model UN is a simulation based competition in which individual students
take on the role of delegates representing different countries and to make timely international issues with the goal of writing
comprehensive resolutions in intense three day events. The students work in their
committees over 20 hours in a two and a half day time period. They compete against
students from colleges and universities throughout the nation. At this time I would like
to invite Lindsay Pendleton and Cherrizar Crippen to the stage. As club president, Lindsey has displayed exceptional leadership
mentoring novice delegates, being an established outstanding delegate through several competitions
in the southeast and most recently being
selected as the first community college student
in history to serve on the Southern Regional
Model United Nations staff as the Assistant Director for the International Court of Justice. This is one of the most
prestigious model United Nations organizations in the country. Additionally, Lindsey has received several Model United Nations Awards
including Most Diplomatic, Perfect Score Position Paper and three Outstand Delegate Awards. Lindsey currently serves as the chair of the Greensboro College Commission, has been and continues
to be actively involved in local politics. In his spare time,
Lindsey creates incredible hand-carved figures which
were featured on Fox 8 News. In addition to her Model
United Nations work, Cherizar has been serving
Black Lives Matter for nearly a year and locally acts as the communications chair and liaison to the Southern Network
of the Greensboro chapter. She has fought oppression in
the form of police brutality, capitalism, white supremacy
through member’s protest including Standing Rock
and the Charlotte Uprising. Cherizar studies in
Political Science at GTCC and traveling for activist based training have informed her work in the
fight for black liberation. She has participated
in Model United Nations since August of 2015, winning
awards for Most Improved, Outstanding Delegation and Best Hair. (audience laughter) She is currently creating curricula for an inter-generational
community educational club aimed at teaching social justice activism and community organizing for young people. In her down time, she’s an
avid cosplayer and Naruto fan. Lindsay and Cherizar
most deservedly receive Outstanding Delegate Awards
for their performance at the UNC Charlotte
competition this fall. They represented the United
States in the United Nations’ Environmental Assembly
and demonstrated exemplary leadership and diplomacy
including relationships with historically hostile nations. It is my honor to
present Lindsay Pendleton and Cherizar Griffin with their
Outstanding Delegate Awards. (audience applause) – Good evening, I’m Audrey Floyd. I’m the faculty advisor
for the GTCC Flight Team and the GTCC Flight Team is part of the National Intercollegiate
Flying Association. NIFA is the abbreviation for that and they host regional
competitions in the fall and the national competition in the spring and at this point I’d
like to bring Logan Wicks. Logan competed in the fall
regional event in November and there’s several different events that make up the competition. He placed second in the
aircraft recognition, fifth is scan, sixth in
the flight simulator event and first in pre flight and then on the flight events side, he placed seventh in navigation and second in powered accuracy landings. When they totaled up all of the points, Logan had more than anyone else there and so he was awarded the Top
Pilot for the competition. He was competing against
other pilots that, many of whom had been
flying several more years and had twice as many hours but when it was all said and
done, he beat ’em all! So we’re very proud of
him and he’ll be going for GTCC and competing in
the national competition this May and we’re so proud. Also, I will say that
Logan is well on his way to getting his airline
transport pilot certificate and next time you fly, listen carefully when they
introduce the flight crew because you might be privileged enough to be on one of his flights. So please help me congratulate Logan. (audience applause) – Hello everyone. My name is Jeff Faircloth
and I serve as the (muffled speech) chapter
advisory at Guilford Tech. (muffled speech) USA is a
national student organization specifically for (muffled
speech) in technical education. It is a partnership
between business industry, school faculty, administration
and students to ensure that the United States
has a qualified workforce to fill those jobs in technical areas. Those areas include everything
from advertising design, carpentry, automotive, cosmetology, you name it for a technical
trade, is a part of that including Guilford careers as well. Students start by paying a membership fee as well as advisors can also join as well. So as a paid student member, students can participate in
the state conferencing contest in their prospective trade fields and this contest is held annually in April and so if time permits,
next week on the 27th, the Greensboro Colosseum
is the main host area for those contests. I encourage you to check that out. We will have 70 contestants
competing this year. A couple of the contests
have already been held like welding and HVAC
but the majority contests are held on the 27th,
some of those being held here at Guilford Tech
or the Greensboro campus including CNC, advertising design, culinary arts right next door as well. So wining first place at
state qualifies students to compete and the national level. That’s held in June in
Louisville, Kentucky for the past two years. We are fortunate enough
because of the support of our administration here
that the administration has decided last year to pay
the state registration fee and also through funding, they helped pay the way
for the students to compete at the national level
in Louisville, Kentucky. The foundation also provides support and the uniforms that
students have to wear like I am modeling here (audience laughter) so 2016 was a banner
year for Guilford Tech. There were 102 members, 81 of
those being student members. Of those, 60 contestants
competed in their prospective contests according to their trade area and leadership contests as well. 11 of those students finished
first place in the state which advanced them to the national level. The majority of the students
did place fifth or higher at the state level. So of those 11 students, nine
students went on to compete at the national conference
and of those nine students, five of them placed in the top five and three of them winning medals, so I would like to recognize
those five individuals that achieved that award and I’m not sure if any of them are here tonight or not, but let me go down the list
and tell you who they are. Fifth place was Amanda
Byrd in Medical Assisting and her advisor is Mrs. Buchanon. Fourth place was Brittney
Griffin in Dental Assisting and her advisor is Lynn Synder. Third place, winning a
bronze medal was Katie Keene in Criminal Justice, her
advisor is Ms. Terry Paulman. Second place was Danielle
Dobson who competed in the Indian Leadership contest for us, Health Occupation Professional Portfolio and her trade area is Dental Assisting and her advisor is Mrs. Lynda Synder. And last but not least, first
place winning gold medal for the first time in Restaurant Service was Ariel Davis and her
instructor is Mr. O’Degas. (audience applause) – Good evening one and all. I am Quentin Johnson, vice-president for Student Support Services at GTCC. I’m going to talk with you briefly about two award categories, the Community Service Award
and the Perseverance Awards. As we know, we recognize that so many of our students have lives outside of the classroom and their life’s
experiences are challenging as our speaker, Gustavo Smith, shared. So if you can imagine juggling families, jobs, life’s responsibilities,
health issues, transportation issues, all
types of responsibilities while in college, our students
do this and do it well. We have students who are active
in their local communities, selfishly giving of their free
time to help others in need and yet others who are
facing personal challenges and obstacles above and beyond the normal aspects of daily life. Tonight, the GTCC Community Service Awards is being presented to students
who are actively involved in service projects in
their local communities while maintaining an outstanding 3.5 accumulative GPA or higher. We are also presenting the
GTCC Perseverance Award to students who have overcome
significant challenges in their personal lives
while producing exceptional academic work and maintaining
an accumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. The faculty member who
has nominated students for these awards or representative of these student’s departments, will now introduce each award winner. Thank you. (audience applause) – Good evening, my name is Ralph Argento. I’m department chair of the Computer Technologies Department. For the past few years
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Francis excel in
her criminal justice courses at GTCC. Francis has been a role
model for the students not only in the classroom but in her activities in the community. As a cyber crimes student,
Francis has been exposed to the current issues and
has become more connected with using technology. Laws that are lacking behind
leaps in our technology, Francis would like to
continue to educate parents and children of the risks
associated with being online as well as share steps to protect children as they use technology. Francis understands that
information technology is more than just using Facebook. In addition, Francis will
also provide free translation services to those whom English
is not their first language and in-depth explanations
of how traffic laws function in the state of North Carolina. As a Latina and American Indian woman, Francis shares her experience and skills in information technology
within Latin communities. Over the past five years,
Francis offered a multitude of free classes on basic
computer knowledge. The classes focus on demonstrating skills and concepts of what computers
can do besides social media or Facebook. Francis also understands
the dangers of the internet and teaches the importance and awareness of what children are doing online. The classes include how to
create limited user logins as opposed to letting a child have access to an administrator account. Another topic is how to
implement Microsoft’s family supervision suite
and explain the impact on social skills when a
person dedicates too much time being online as opposed to having face-to-face conversations. In addition to her educational services, Francis offers free translation services to those whom English is
not their first language and in-depth explanations
of how traffic laws function in the state of North Carolina. Please join me in congratulating
Francis Carrasco-Serrano. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Jacob Daniel Lee. I’m an instructor in
entertainment technology. Over this last year I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Ryan Johnson. My Introduction to
Entertainment Technology, Recording Engineering II
and Acoustics classes. As a student, Ryan’s academic rigor, meticulous attention to detail and pursuit of excellence
have consistently allowed him to rise to the highest
level in both participation and examination grades. In addition, his leadership
qualities are very apparent as he is always in class on
time, engaged in discussion and broadening comprehension with thought-provoking questions. Outside of class, I’ve
had the great opportunity to get to know Ryan not only
as a student but as a friend, beginning with the
entrepreneurship discussions during office hours,
we have since broadened our acquaintance to include
discussions about life, business, family and faith. Remaining consistent with my
initial in-class observations, Ryan truly is a man of
integrity and high moral value. For the past six years, Ryan
has volunteered his time to help alcoholics, addicts
and their loved ones recover from alcoholism, substance abuse and consequences of their illnesses. In volunteering, Ryan
attends meetings with other recovering alcoholics and takes addicts to homeless shelters,
hospitals or treatment centers and detention centers
several times a month. He is a local district officer
and voluntary web developer for an international
award winning association with the mission of rehabilitating
alcoholics and addicts. For two years, Ryan has
served as the local district officer in the High Point
and Randolph County areas to provide coordination
and information to people in need of recovery services. Additionally, he helps the
surrounding professional community understand
how to treat alcoholics. As Ryan pursues his
long term goal to create and facilitate an
entertainment infrastructure for the Triad in North Carolina, I’m confident that his work ethic, ability to overcome challenges
and desire to help others will allow him to now
only succeed but lead. Please join me in
congratulating Ryan Johnson. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Renard Spratling
and I am an instructor in the Computer Science Department. I have had the pleasure
of teaching Jennifer Lee for the past two years in
several web development degree courses. Upon graduation from GTCC, Jennifer plans to consider her educational
journey while pursuing a B.A. In PR Communications at
a four-year university, Appalachia State University. In addition, she is also
pursuing steps to launch a startup digital
marketing agency to provide digital marketing and social
media management services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Jennifer and her sisters
started a family project called Three Sisters Giving
through which they have taken on various community projects. Some of the projects include
providing Thanksgiving meals for Greensboro’s Community Table, making and distributing 150 blessing bags for the homeless every Christmas
and giving birthday parties for children served by Fairview
Family Resource Center. They plan to grow this
effort into a full 501-C3, non-profit to better serve the community. In addition to the work she
is doing with her sisters, she regularly volunteers
at Second Harvest Food Bank stocking and sorting the food pantry. During her tenure as
project manager at MA Cares, she led a team that raised
money to help veterans suffering from PTSD obtain service dogs. As the project manager,
she also organized many community service projects
for children and families in the Triad through
food and clothing drives for Backpack Beginnings. Please join me in
congratulating Jennifer Lee. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Richard Supulpa. I am the interim department
chair, interim division chair, it’s confusing (audience laughter) for Business, Creative
and Performing Arts. All non-traditional students have a story. Each one has unique challenges but all must manage if
one is to accomplish one’s academic and personal goals. Nichole Dyson-McNair
has staged her own set of unique challenges
over the past four years. Her role as student has
often been in conflict with her roles as wife, mother, daughter, but she has managed to make them all work. While caring for two young children, one of whom who has special needs and her disabled parents, she has also managed to fulfill her duties as an officer of the Early
Childhood Education Club and maintained a GPA of 3.5. Her determination to successfully meet all of her obligations is admirable and we appreciate her perseverance. We wish her continued success
as she continues her education and earns her Master’s
Degree in audiology. Please join me in congratulating
Nichole Dyson-McNair. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Lynn Scott and
I am an associate professor in the Math Department. I had the pleasure of
teaching David Lambert in the Math 152 class last summer. As the coordinator for the
Spark program for Statistics, I also had the pleasure
of working with him and he ended up conducting
lots of Spark sessions for us and statistics in helping
students all over campus. But David has faced some
significant challenges in his academic career
including a chronic illness, Crohns Disease which I happen
to be familiar with also because my daughter has it. For the last 17 years, David
has fought the symptoms of his disease which, at times,
required hospitalization. Even more significant,
David’s chronic illness led to depression which
caused him to drop classes and give up on his academic
pursuit for almost 10 years. Episodes of self harm
landed him the hospital and the search for an
effective regiment and therapy of therapy and medication. Eventually, David felt comfortable enough to return to college
in the spring of 2016. When I met David last summer
in my Statistics class, I met a brilliant young man
who was focused, determined and had obviously
overcome these challenges. To the point where they were
not evident to me at all, I had no idea. David states that his
relationship with instructors and other students on
campus in his classes and with his work in
Spark and other tutoring have further helped him to gain confidence and academic momentum. After completing his
Associate’s in Arts degree, David will transfer to UNC Chapel Hill where he was recently accepted and continue his academic career. He will pursue both a
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Economics and his goal is to work in the field of Development Economics, either domestically or internationally and to use his knowledge
to combat poverty. He has already begun to
research the activities of economists engaged in this field and to investigate software,
programing languages and statistical techniques
that they’re using. Please join me in
congratulating David Lambert. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Carry Thurman and
I’m an associate professor in the Health Care Management
Program here at GTCC. I have had the honor of
instructing Will Poole in several of his courses
in the HMT program. During his time at
GTCC, I have also served as his academic advisors
and I’m also very proud to say that in this time
frame he has become my friend. Will started the HMT
program in the fall of 2013. I could tell from the
beginning in my HMT110 class that he was going to
be a very good student. He was one of those
students that scared you. He was intelligent but
professional in his approach but I knew that I was
going to have to stay a couple of steps ahead
of him at all times. Students like Will will
definitely keep you on your toes but in a good way. I knew he would breeze through
the curriculum in two years and that he would do
well in his endeavors. Will continually demonstrated the ability to be an exceptional student,
he never missed an assignment, but that changed in October of 2014. Life happened to Will. He was enrolled in my HMT212
online course at the time and one week in particular he failed to submit his assignments. I immediately knew something was wrong because Will never misses an assignment. Within a day I had phone
calls form his sister and his step-father to
let me know that he was in the hospital and very sick
with Legionnaire’s Pneumonia. This in itself helps you see who will is. He was deathly ill in the
ICU and he had his family contact me to say why he
had missed a deadline. (audience murmuring) Even, excuse me, let me get my… So after he was diagnosed
with Legionnaire’s, I visited him in the hospital. I’m sure he was happy
to see me waltzing up in his hospital room, but
as a concerned advisor, that’s where I went. While I was there, we
discussed what was going on with him academically at that point and after discussions with me and discussions with his physicians, he decided in that term
that he would withdraw from classes completely
at GtCC because his health continued to decline. While pneumonia took him to the hospital, it was after many tests while he was there that it was also determined that he had stage 4 kidney disease that was later followed by
the diagnosis of cancer, so Will has overcome a lot. I don’t want to get emotional. So from October 2014, let me skip back. So he was diagnosed with cancer. He now has one kidney, okay? And much like him, that one kidney is a very hard worker right now. From October 2014 from
his initial diagnosis to December of 2016, Will
has slowly but surely completed his HMT degree requirements as his health would allow. Not only has he completed his degree but he will graduate with honors. Will is someone that does
something to the best of his abilities at all times, even when he was very sick,
in and out of the hospital, had zero energy, he persevered. He got up, did what he
could do when he could do it and he did it well. Sure it took him longer
but now he’s a graduate of the Healthcare Management Program. He achieved his goal even
if his path was not as clean or as straight as he would
have wished it to be. As an instructor, it was
an inspiring thing to watch and I am so glad that I
got to be on the journey. Once Will gets his kidney and
his health returns to normal, he hopes to becoming a
Nursing Facility Administrator and he will make a fine one. Until then he is continuing
his education here at GTCC where he is currently doing the coursework for the Medical Office
Administration certificate. Will continues to learn,
he’s a life-long learner. Please join me in
congratulating Will Pool, recipient of the GTCC. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Jeremy Bennet. I’m the division chair for Human
Services and Public Safety. I came to GTCC a short time ago. In that time I’ve heard remarkable things about one of our Criminal Justice
students, Monique Stewart. Monique will be graduating
in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree
in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. Monique has faced numerous challenges while attending here at GTCC. She is a survivor of domestic violence along with her brother and mother. During the very first few
months of her starting the program here at the college. This placed a very heavy
financial burden on her and her family and led them to relocate into a smaller place. During this time Monique
and her family were faced with mental, emotional
and physical distress. Monique dealt with these
sudden changes in her life by applying herself more than ever in terms of her coursework,
volunteering at church, participating in
community service projects and helping in multiple
capacities with local youth ministries near her home. Monique has credited the
value of volunteering to be both insightful and humbling all while giving a whole
new meaning to the phrase “service above self.” Some of Monique’s long-term goals include pursuing a Bachelor’s
Degree in Homeland Security with a focus of Counter-terrorism
and Intelligence, seeking a Master’s Degree
in Criminal Justice, serving in a United States
Marine Core as an officer and gaining employment
with the local state or local law enforcement agency. Please join me in
congratulating Monique Stewart. (audience applause) – Has this been an
inspiring evening so far? Yeah, it has. My name is Beth Pitonzo. I have the privilege of
serving as the Vice-President of Instruction here at Guilford Tech and I’m here to introduce
the Student Excellence Awards that honor our students who commit very high academic standards, have been contributing members
to the college community and are making significant
progress towards completing their academic and career goals. To get this award, they had
to be nominated by faculty. That was based on their
classroom engagement initiative, motivation and steady focus
progress towards their degree as well as, again, involvement
in activities at the college. These students are currently
enrolled in Associate’s Degree programs and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Nominated students submitted applications detailing their GTCC
activities and their specific educational and career goals. So again nominating faculty
members will introduce each student who is receiving
an award this evening. – Good evening. My name is Joshua Waterstone
and I am the lead instructor in the Theatre program in
the Business and Creative Performing Arts Division. I’ve seen the talents of
Alex Acuff in the local theatrical productions around town and had the immense
pleasure of teaching him in my acting class last fall. I’ve also worked with him and
directed him in Spontaneous which is our resident improv troop. Little plug, it happens every semester, you guys should come out. (audience laughter) He auditioned for it and
was cast in it last fall and performed with us. Alex is a strong performer
and as a student, he is both quick-witted,
possess a strong physicality as a performer and has an
intelligent and curious mind. Alex does not just take
lessons at face value. He tests them against
reason and his experience and he’s not afraid of
discourse and disagreement. Education should be with the student and not forced upon the student and Alex brings himself to his studies as a partner in education. Alex is a role model to other
students in that he always was on time for class,
he came eager to learn, he left his emotional baggage by the door, he also came prepared and ready to work. Many times in our Acting I class, Alex had already memorized and
made clear and bold choices while other students were still
starting on their homework. He is thoughtful and he
takes direction well. I saw Alex grow during
the improvisation group, Spontaneous, of which
he was a troupe member of looking at improv first
from a more standup comic view to finding activity,
relationship and environment that allowed him to create
worlds and fascinating characters in situations on stage. Alex also performed and
spoke with potential students at the Greensboro Coliseum
and helped us with recruiting and he presents himself
well both as a performer as well as casually in front of a crowd. Alex is more than ready for the
next level in his education. Alex will transfer to UNCG next year and pursue a degree in Theater or English. His long-term goal is to
pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts and Theater at UNCG with
an emphasis in directing. He has taken many steps
towards this well in college as he has maintained paid positions at High Point Community Theater since 2013 as a director, writer, scenic painter, stage manager, assistant
stage manager and actor. As a writer and director,
his play The Condition was performed at the 14th Annual
Greensboro French Festival in 2016 and his play Appalachian Dream will be performed at the
15th Annual Greensboro French in 2017. Alex also assisted with some
of our spring rehearsals at GTCC Theater, adding
some of his writing and as an assistant director
on our spring original play, Under Construction, 2017. Please join me in
congratulating Alex Acuff on this well-deserved award. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Linda Jingles and
I am a Nursing instructor in the Health Sciences Department. For the past two years,
I have known Joshua and was one of his associate
professors during that time. I had the pleasure of
teaching Josh Broadwell in my Intro To Health Concepts class. I was also Joshua’s advisor. What makes Joshua so unique is his determination of excellence in his academic achievements and his commitment to and passion for the professional development that he is continuing to gain. Also Joshua is instrumental
in contributing to the academic work that
has inspired his peers. Joshua would never say that
he is a role model for anyone, but he definitely is. Joshua has been a role model
for other nursing students through his tutoring
with some of his peers. Just because he wants
to see everyone make it through the Nursing program, he has also demonstrated
skills and attributes that are necessary for being
an effective registered nurse which has offered
inspiration to many others. Joshua has made many
efforts and has achieved academic proficiency. Joshua has grown by leaps and bounds since the first semester
of Nursing school. He has been involved
in numerous activities over the past two years. He is the president of his
senior graduating class which will be graduating May 5th. Joshua is a student advisor
to the Associate’s Degree Advising Committee. Having been a student
representative for GTCC’s ribbon cutting ceremony
which was at Union Square, Joshua headed the service
and outreach campaign that the class wanted to facilitate for the flooding victims in
Lumberton, North Carolina as well as he personally drove
the goods to the families. He has volunteered for cancer
screenings at Cone Health on more than on occasion, served on the Advising Committee
for GTCC’s Nursing program and participated in and helped man a booth at the Walk To End Autism. Joshua plans on attending
a 2+ RN bridge program for his Bachelor’s Degree
in the Science of Nursing at either North Carolina A&T or UNCG. He has also been asked to
apply at clinical rotations for units that he trained on
as a senior nursing student. Joshua has already secured a job at the Critical Care Academy
at High Point UNC Health ICU Department. This position will provide
the needed experience for his certifications
that will be required for his dream in nursing job. Joshua’s long-term goal is to
be a helicopter flight nurse. Please join me in
congratulating Joshua Broadwell. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Rene Parish
and I am the Radiography program director. Since August of 2015,
it’s been my great honor to teach Emma Busick. Emma has been in my Procedures
I, II and III class; Imaging II, Physics I and Capstone. I also visit Emma at various
clinical rotation assignments. I have been her advisor to
the State X-Ray Society, the North Carolina Society
for Radiologic Technologists for two different competitions. One was for an exhibit competition and two was for a review of
the literature student paper. I also am the program pending advisor and I work directly with Emma. You know, what makes Emma
unique is she is constant. She’s also in charge of her
emotions, manages her stress. I mean, nothing shakes her, nothing. She was hired by a clinic site
because of her outstanding performance during the program and she has been working
for Moses Hospital since May of 2016 as
a student Radiographer and I’ve heard that she’s
doing an excellent job and she has also been offered
a position to continue that after graduation. She has impacted her
classmates in many ways. She has matured way beyond her years. For example, a peer of Emma’s
said to me once in class, “I want to be like Emma when I grow up.” (audience laughter) Now, the catch here is
the student is probably 20 years older than Emma! (audience laughter) And then she said, “And we
really all want to be like Emma.” So I think that Emma is
always patient and kind, compassionate and thoughtful. She demonstrates a strong work ethic. She has goals, works
diligently toward them and in achieving success and she has a prize-wining attitude. Makes my job so easy. Emma has demonstrated
leadership and academic success. She is the Radiography Club president. She was the team technical team share for the North Carolina Society
for Radiological Technologist competition. While at the state meeting,
she organized the service projects for the club
and she’s also working with me on planning the
pining for the class program . She’s a member of the
Phi Beta Kappa society since April of 2015. She has made application
and actually been accepted to East Carolina University. She is going to be working
towards an online Bachelor’s degree program, B.S. program, and head services management. She has aspirations of being a supervisor or a department director
of a radiology department and she also, following
her undergraduate degree, she is going to do some advanced degree and certification in
computerized axiom tomography. You may know that as CT. Please join me in congratulating
Emma Caroline Busick. (audience applause) – Good evening, my name is Astrid Todd and I’m associate professor of Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics and
Computer Technologies Department. For the past several years,
I have had the pleasure of teaching Francis Carrasca-Serrano in my Cyber Crime classes. I have also been her faculty advisor and advisor for the
Raleigh, North Carolina (muffled speech) symposium
in which she recently took first place. Francis is unique in many ways, from her life experience
and her bath to GTCC to her present activities here at GTCC. She has shared with me stories of her past which prove her uniqueness. One story she has told
me is about her stint on a construction site and her struggle to make her skeptical
coworkers believe she could do the work they could even
though she’s a female. She took it upon herself to
imitate what they would do and soon enough she was up
on the roof cutting plywood like the guys. Subsequently when she showed
up for work with her own tools, they were suitably impressed. Now besides doing a framing cuter, she is also a master tile setter and is currently working on
a Chrysler 3.9 liter engine rebuilding it in order
to get it on her truck in order to save money. Her mentality of not
worrying about what others think about her gained her
the respect of coworkers and her boss. She was not content at
just picking up trash because she knew she was
capable of so much more. Francis is the ideal student. She is a single mom who values education and always goes beyond
what is expected of her. Since she tends to be ahead
of other students in her work, she is always willing to stop
and help the other students. Some of the primary personal
characteristics needed for success in the cyber
crime field are those of patience and tenacity which
Francis has in abundance. Francis says, “I don’t stop at easy “and when the door is shut in my face, “I come in through the basement. “People don’t keep up
with those window locks.” (audience laughter) Every the go-getter, Francis is always seeking new opportunities in
researching the possibilities. She recently applied for and
received a NASA scholarship. She has also joined many
clubs during her tenure here at GTCC including them
STEM club and Right club. For her long-term goals,
Francis wants to help change the laws of the cyber
world which she says are currently very obscure and
implement advanced security features to prevent the
distribution of child pornography. Please join me in congratulating
Francis Carrasca-Serrano. (audience applause) – Good evening. My name is Dina St. Peter
and I’m a Humanities department chair. I first taught Jana in the fall of 2013 in my Humanities 130: Myth
and Human Culture course. The following year, she took
two of my World Literature courses, World Literature
I and World Literature II. Jana has overcome numerous
obstacles to be here today. A high school dropout, she started in our Adult Basic Education
program, earned her GED, and began college classes shortly after. Jana is a model student;
enthusiastic, dedicated, eager to learn and passionate to share her knowledge with others. She’s also very creative. In my World Mythology
course, she created Odin out of dryer sheets and in
my World Literature course, she brought Ovid up into the 20th century creating a resume for him
and also a web presence with Twitter tweets and
various memes and other things. Jana has excelled here
at GTCC and she now works as an intern in our Marketing
and Public Relations office writing articles for our
website, taking photos, writing press releases
and handling social media among other duties. She is active in the
Global Scholars Program and the Model UN serving
as a club secretary for both groups. Last fall she joined
the City of Greensboro’s College Commission and this spring was elected vice-chairman. Jana hopes to transfer
to UNCW where she plans to major in Literature with
a minor in Creative Writing which will allow her to
pursue a career as a teacher, journalist or children’s book author. As part of this, she hopes
to study abroad in Ireland. Please join me in
congratulating Jana Carver. (audience applause) – I’m Jackie Simpson. I am the associate
professor of Sociology here and I first met Aaron
Durand almost two years ago in the fall of 2015 when he enrolled in my Introduction to Sociology class. He’s not a particularly boisterous student so it took me a little
while to realize that he’s exactly the type of
student that those of us that are professors love to have in class. He’s attentive, he’s
prepared, he’s insightful and he’s hard working. I was so impressed that I mentioned Aaron to a Psychology colleague. This person also had Aaron in class and that must of reiterated
that Erin was a keeper in all regards. I’ve since had the
pleasure of having Aaron in four different classes and no surprise, Aaron earned an A in every one. In fact, he not only earned an
A in every one of my classes, Aaron has earned an A in
every class he has taken here at GTCC. Because of his hard
work and determination, Aaron will graduate from GTCC
with a 4.0 grade point average. We will miss him here. Not only is Erin an excellent student, but he has been an asset to Guilford Technical Community College. For the past year, Aaron has
been a student ambassador for our campus conducting
tours of the campus to prospective students,
serving on campus blood drives and being the student representative on our disciplinary committee. As a veteran, he’s also been active in the Student Veterans Association. After her=transfers to
Appalachian State University, Aaron plans to continue
his work with veterans by pursuing a degree in
Psychology and joining ROTC with the eventual goal of
becoming a commissioned officer. As Aaron puts it, “Soldiers
don’t respect psychologists “or therapists as much
of those who have served, “so I believe it’s important
to continue my personal “service with the
military as long as I can “for the benefit of my eventual clients “who I hope to assist in the future.” Our loss is App State
and veterans’ gaining. Please join me in congratulating
Aaron on his accomplishments and wishing him the very best. (audience applause) – My name is Linda Johnson
and I’m the program director for Early Childhood Education
here at Guilford Tech. I’ve had the pleasure
of teaching and working with Sally Lipe and her first
early childhood practicum field placement class
and also in educational technology courses. Sally brings a love of
children and a passion that’s indescribable to work with children in the early childhood profession. She’s willing to assist
other students in class to help them understand
concepts, share ideas and she also has served as a leader in our Early Childhood Education club. She continues to build her confidence in working with children and
consistently demonstrates her leadership and
awesome professionalism. Sally plans to continue her
education at UNCG this fall majoring in Early Childhood Education. Sally’s goal is to have her own classroom and continue her work with children and she says wherever that
may take her or lead her and those children in her
classroom will be truly, truly blessed. Please join me in
congratulating Sally Lipe. (audience applause) – My name is Jeff Underwood. I am the program director
for the Air Condition, Heating, Refrigeration
program here at GTCC. I’ve had the privilege to
instruct Matthew Medlin in several of his HVAC classes and advise him for the
State Skills USA competition in which he finished third in state. Mathew sets an example for
his peers with his work ethic. He helps encourage his classmates and has taken advantage
of his time here at GTCC. He’s a student ambassador
representing GTCC in the community and school functions. He’s a student
representative on our program advisory committee. Matthew came to GTCC
looking for a career change and his hard work and
dedication have paid off. Upon graduating, Matt
will be working full time with Hoffman and Hoffman
Inc. on some of the most advanced HVAC equipment in the industry. Please join me in
congratulating Matthew Medlin. (audience applause) – Hi, I’m Susan Powell. I’m the department
chair for public service and I am also an instructor in
the Criminal Justice program. I met Monique Stewart two years ago when she was a new student in
the Criminal Justice program and was immediately impressed
with her intelligence, initiative and desire to succeed. Monique not only takes
advantages of opportunities for success that are available
to her by volunteering as a roleplayer in our basic
law enforcement training and acting as a peer tutor,
she creates opportunities for herself and others including me because I got roped in
on the Christmas Project and loved it and enjoyed it. She was the driving force behind the first Criminal Justice outreach project through Samaritan’s Purse
resulting in 36 Christmas shoeboxes that were distributed
to underprivileged children. She ran the testing
center in the Skills USA Criminal Justice
competitions for me last year with military precision when
the best that I was able to accomplish up to that point was kind of organize cue lines. So she’s going to be there next week and every year after that
I can get her to come back from wherever it is that she’s going. Being so academically
gifted, she also has a 4.0 so highly motivated by
itself might be off-putting to her fellow students but if Monique weren’t also
so genuinely kind, caring, and helpful to her fellow students, they just all seem to be drawn to her. She’s driven to achieve the high goals that she has set for herself, but she also takes the time to
uplift others along the way. Dr. Bennet explained her
ultimate career goals to go into Federal Intelligence,
state law enforcement, local law enforcement, marine core. I just know that whatever
she decides upon, she’ll do. Whatever she aspires
to do, she will achieve so help me in congratulating Monique in her academic excellence. (audience applause) (muffled speech) – It is my pleasure to
introduce the presenter of our next award, Dr. Darrell Saunders, was appointed to the State
Board of Community Colleges in 2011 by the North Carolina
House of Representatives. He earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of Alabama, a Master’s degree in education from the University of
North Carolina Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Appalachia State University. A life-long educator, Dr.
Saunders served as a professor at four private colleges
for a total of 19 years and as a high school
principal for 18 years. He’s also worked as a
teacher, a recruiter, a real estate broker and has taught Sunday school for 30 years. Dr. Saunders has a
personal connection to GTCC as his granddaughter is a current student in our Nursing program. Please join me in welcoming
one of our state board members, Dr. Darrell Saunders. (audience applause) – Where is my granddaughter? (audience laughter) Maybe she’ll be here next year. Do you believe in miracles? That’s what Alan Micheal
said, I think, in 1980 when the United States built the USSR in the last seconds he
yelled it out into the mic. And all you had to do was be here tonight and you’ll believe in miracles. Mr. Smith, no doubt about
it, you’re a miracle and the person I’m going
to talk about tonight, also I believe is a
miracle and you know what, there was a lot of people in between us that are also miracles of your own right. You’ve done some great things
with adverse conditions. Just being in a class to study
can be adverse, can’t it? It’s tough. It’s tough to make 4.0, I guess. (audience laughter) Did you notice the professors
look younger and younger? I don’t know why that is. But one of the professors
who talked about Gina Carver, pretty well stole my notes so I’m going to ad lib a little bit. I did meet her just earlier and she dropped out of
school in the 11th grade and at 19 years old she was didn’t know
what to do with her life and she really didn’t. She had been homeschooled and then things went badly wrong at home and so she, of course, suffered
from confidence had gone away and she dropped out in the 11th grade and went to live with her grandparents and one day her grandparents were going in to the food line at the grocery store and she picked up one on those
famous GTCC course catalogs. It’s a weapon! (laughs) And she thought about it for a week or so, didn’t do anything with it, and then she decided to make the call and make connection with
this wonderful school. It’s the little things in life like that that change your whole
perspective, isn’t it? Just really small things
like when I got ready to go to grad school, a
black cat ran in front of me and I was like, “Oh man!” over at Chapel Hill but it is little things that make a difference and just one smile from one teacher, one good grade, anything good, can really make a difference in your life. I know that because I
struggled a lot academically. I had no background
whatsoever to go to college and pretty well achieved
everything I wanted to do. Probably should have done more but we all feel that way at times. So education for her, Gina, it seemed out of reach. It’s like, how could you
go from 11th grade dropout to college, how can you do that? It’s a miracle. If you pull that off and she did it. She came here and got into bridge program and the GED right into college. That’s a miracle, my opinion,
to be able to do that. It’s certainly not easy but she started to believe in herself and she says it’s because of you, some of you professors out there. You helped her have more confidence. And you know what, that’s what
a teacher is supposed to do. So you’re just doing your job, right? It really is. She’s in her fifth semester now working as an Associate of Arts degree, you heard all of that
earlier by the professor and members of two or three
great clubs that are here and she works for the
community college as well in marketing and public information and her goal is to transfer
to a four-year university. I think she said UNC Wilmington. It’d be a great place to go and to one day be a writer. Can’t wait to buy that book because I know she’s going
to be a great writer. She said, “I had no idea
what was possible for me. “My teachers saw me and
saw where I could go “and all I could see was where
I was and where I came from.” We’re all a little bit
that way, aren’t we? We can’t really see into the future but people can help
you see that sometimes. She said, “My greatest obstacle is me,” and that’s true, isn’t it? We get in our own way,
don’t we a lot of times? It’s my honor tonight to
present to you this 2017 Academic Excellent Award. This one is given one per school in all 58 of the community colleges
and to be eligible, a student has to be currently
enrolled and complete at least 12 hours in an
Associate Degree program and have a minimum
accumulative GPA of 3.25 and to submit an essay so join me in congratulating the 2017 Academic Excellence Award winner, Jana Carver and if she’d come forward– (audience applause) I have four granddaughters and if you’d like to apply to be one, I’d be happy
to accept your application. (audience laughter) – Thank you! – Good evening, my name is Sheila May and I’m the associative
vice-president of instruction. I want to thank you once
again for joining us this evening to recognize
our outstanding students. The support and encouragement
that come from their families, friends and faculty make a
difference in their success. We appreciate you all being here to celebrate their accomplishments
of our award winners and to our excellent students, we want to say congratulations again. We are proud of all that you’ve achieved and we know that you will
continue to achieve great things. Also would like to thank the
committee and the co-chairs. Their names are listed in your program and to invite you to
continue the celebration in the lobby with our students by joining us for refreshments. Thank you and have a great evening. (audience applause)

Author: Kevin Mason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *