2019 Academic Excellence Awards
WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College honored 54 of its best and brightest students this month, during the 2019 Academic Excellence Awards ceremony on campus.

The program, which is held each spring to recognize students for classroom, campus and community achievements, took place March 22 and featured remarks from PCC President Lawrence Rouse, who said Academic Excellence Awards signify students have set a higher bar for measuring their success.

“I commend all award recipients for your hard work and dedication to achieve a higher level of excellence,” he said.

All of this year’s Academic Excellence Award recipients were nominated by PCC faculty and staff. They received special medallions crafted by the college’s Machining Technology students to commemorate their achievement.

In addition to the presentation of medallions, the program included remarks from Academic Excellence Award recipient Sindy Martinez, who explained what PCC has meant to her as a Paralegal Technology student.

A native of El Salvador, Martinez came to the United States with her family when she was four years old. She became a victim of domestic violence not long after and recalls that when she was just eight years old, she helped her mother fight off her drunken father, who had been firing a gun inside their home.

For at least a year after the episode, Martinez was on the move with her mother and sister to elude her father. The family eventually found some measure of normalcy, and Sindy enrolled at North Pitt High School.

During her freshman year, she became pregnant. And at a time when others her age were focused on getting a driver’s license, she had a son at 16 – and he would become her motivation to succeed.

“Ever since I had my son, I’ve wanted to provide for him the best life possible and I’ve always wanted him to see me as a role model,” she said. “By going to college and doing the best that I can, I have encouraged him to do his best.”

Martinez, who was PCC’s selection to receive a State Academic Excellence Award from the N.C. Community College System (NCCCS), has excelled in the classroom and community as a Pitt student and is on track to graduate next spring. She has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the PCC Paralegal Association, N.C. Bar Association and LEX National Paralegal Honor Society. She also volunteers with the Salvation Army and Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina.

“When asked what PCC means to me, I can honestly and confidently tell you PCC means hope, encouragement and unity,” Martinez said. “I am thankful to Pitt Community College for giving me the opportunity and reasons I need to achieve my goals and further my career.”

This year’s program also featured the PCC Foundation presenting several special awards.

Welding Technology student Brandan Acevedo received the 2019 President’s Scholarship worth $500 to help pay for tuition and fees. A Dean’s List student with a 4.0 GPA, Acevedo works full-time with a welding company and volunteers with church events and as a trash collector.

Jacob White, an Associate in Arts student with a 4.0 GPA, received this year’s President’s Award worth $500 for outstanding academics, leadership, volunteerism and service to the college. White is a Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society member and vice president of PCC’s Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society and Phi Beta Lambda student clubs. He is also a member of the college’s Answering the Call Christian Club and volunteers with the local food bank.

Division Awards were presented to students Dontrell Jones (Arts and Sciences), Sharon Moore (Business), Chelsea Biondi (Construction and Industrial Technology), Macy Powers (Health Sciences) and Entisar Abulebdeh (Public Services and Fine Arts). Each received $250 through the award.

Special awards were also given to several students for excellence in developmental studies courses. This year’s recipients were Ebonie Howard, Pedro Jackson and Jones. Howard and Jackson received $125 each for their awards while Jones was awarded $250, since he was also an Academic Excellence Award recipient.

A pair of PCC student-athletes received recognition for outstanding classroom success. Softball player Kelsey Peedin, an Associate in Arts major, received the 2019 Female Student-Athlete Award. Austin Lafollette, a baseball player and Associate in Arts student, received the Male Student-Athlete Award. Both received $250 through the honor.

Markus McCraney, an Entrepreneurship and Associate in Arts student was named PCC’s nominee for NCCCS’s Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. A military veteran, McCraney has a 4.0 GPA and is the president of PCC’s Phi Beta Lambda student club.

Max Hamilton, an Advertising & Graphic Design major with a 3.94 GPA, was announced as the college’s nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award from NCCCS. Earlier this year, Hamilton submitted the winning logo design for the 2019 Community College High-Altitude Ballooning Team Challenge and Competition.
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