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41 Caldwell, Watauga 7th Graders Receive Dream Awards to Attend CCC&TI


Pictured are CCC&TI’s 2016 Dream Scholars. In a recent ceremony, the Foundation of CCC&TI named 41 local seventh-grade students as this year’s Dream Scholars. The Dream Award ensures free tuition to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school.

In a recent ceremony held at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir, the Foundation of CCC&TI named 41 local seventh-grade students as this year’s Dream Scholars. The Dream Award ensures free tuition to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school. The program, offered through the Foundation, is in its 27th year and has presented 1,143 awards since its inception.

Dream Award recipients are selected from among sixth-grade students in Caldwell and Watauga counties. Those selected must be first-generation college students who have demonstrated academic achievement and civic involvement, and who have the potential to succeed.

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch opened the ceremony by welcoming scholars, their families and guests. “I’d like to be one of the first to congratulate you on receiving this great award. Each one of you is being awarded the promise of full tuition to Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute,” said Poarch. “I would encourage you all to keep dreaming and make sure that college remains a priority going forward.” Poarch also recognized members of CCC&TI’s Board of Trustees who were in attendance for the event.

Hardin Park student and Dream Scholar Joseph Penley speaks to those in attendance at CCC&TI’s recent Dream Award Ceremony.

Peg Broyhill, Chairwoman of the CCC&TI Foundation, spoke to those gathered at the ceremony and congratulated this year’s scholars. “You’re here because each of you has already stood out in someone’s eyes. You have gone above and beyond in demonstrating good character, leadership and achievement. You are a remarkable group of students,” said Broyhill. “We look forward to seeing you shine, and hearing of your successes.”

Broyhill recognized the donors who have made the program possible. “The community’s longtime support of this program is amazing,” said Broyhill. She then asked Foundation donors and supporters, CCC&TI faculty and staff and students’ parents and family members to stand. “Students. Look around this room,” she said. “We would like for you to think of us as your extended family. We are going to cheer you on and we’re going to help you reach your dreams.”

Broyhill also recognized CCC&TI and Caldwell and Watauga county school administrators as well as various local organizations whose contributions help make the program possible. She gave special thanks for endowments and grants made possible by the Broyhill Family Foundation, the Coffey Foundation, the Granite Falls High School Class of 1963, the Hogan Family Foundation and the Jerry Church Family. Broyhill also thanked her fellow members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Dena Holman, Vice President of Student Services at CCC&TI, spoke about the history and purpose of the program. “College is now an expectation,” she said. The Dream Program was started at CCC&TI in 1989 by Dr. Tony Deal. The purpose is to encourage students to identify career options, earn good grades, complete high school and attend college.

Holman then introduced speakers Crystal Isaacs and Jennifer Starnes, two Dream Scholars who have since completed their degrees at CCC&TI and are now employed in the community. Isaacs received the Dream Award in 1995 and is a graduate of CCC&TI’s Nuclear Medicine Program and earned an Associate in General Education degree. She is now employed in the Nuclear Medicine Department at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

“The Dream Award gave me a sense of hope and a chance to succeed in life,” said Isaacs. “My advice for you all is to never give up on your dreams. You must believe in yourself and have faith in yourself and anything is possible.”

Jennifer Starnes received her Dream Award in 2005 while at Granite Falls Middle School. She is a 2012 graduate of CCC&TI and earned both an Associate in Art and Associate in Applied Science degree. From CCC&TI, Starnes went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care with a concentration in Health Care Management at Western Carolina University. She is now employed with Caldwell County Emergency Medical Services as a paramedic.

“My advice to you would be to use this opportunity to follow your dreams. Believe in yourself and don’t give up. You can achieve anything you set your mind to,” said Starnes. “Dream big. Congratulations.”

Kings Creek student and Dream Scholar Melanie Parsons speaks to those in attendance at CCC&TI’s recent Dream Award Ceremony. Parsons, along with 40 other area seventh graders, received the award, which ensures free tuition to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school.

The three student speakers were Emma Jakab from Hudson Middle, Melanie Parsons from Kings Creek Elementary and Joseph Penley from Hardin Park Elementary.

“When I got the award, I was shocked and happy,” said Jakab, who plans to enter the Education or technology field.

“Receiving the Dream Award was a special moment for me,” said Parsons, who hopes to become a nurse one day. “I appreciate the confidence that the school, my family and the scholarship committee has in me. I look forward to giving back to my community through this scholarship.”

Joseph Penley is a seventh-grader at Hardin Park Elementary School in Watauga County and says that the Dream Award is the best award he’s ever received. “With the scholarship, I will do great things in the future. Thank you to my teacher for nominating me and to CCC&TI for providing it,” said Penley.

At the end of the evening, Dream Scholars introduced themselves one-by-one and shared their career goals for the future. A reception was held in their honor following the ceremony.

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2016 Dream Award Recipients

Dakadea Barrett, Gamewell Middle School

Emma Beaver, Collettsville School

Kevin “Isaiah” Caldwell, Collettsville School

Amber Chiarolanzio, Parkway Elementary School

Annahi Cirilo-Gonzalez, William Lenoir Middle School

Katherine Clark, William Lenoir Middle School

Caleb Cox, Gamewell Middle School

Bethannie Day, Kings Creek School

Yesenia De La Sancha, Hudson Middle School

Benjamin Doughton, Valle Crucis School

Morgan Dula, Gamewell Middle School

Gaige Edmisten, Cove Creek Elementary School

Kayla Espinoza-Casillas, Blowing Rock Elementary School

Conner Flannery, Granite Falls Middle School

Zaley Fox, Granite Falls Middle School

Benjamin Gailfoil, Bethel School

Isaac Galvez, Valle Crucis School

Maggie Garcia-Castro, Hardin Park Elementary School

Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award Recipient

Ashley Hernandez, Hudson Middle School

Jeremy Hodges, Mabel Elementary School

Lucy Hodges, Parkway Elementary School

Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award Recipient

Cierra Hollifield, Collettsville School

Bryson Icard, Collettsville School

Emma Jakab, Hudson Middle School

Dr. Tony Deal Dream Award Recipient

Nyla Johnson, Mabel Elementary School

Autumn Lunsford, Green Valley Elementary School

Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award Recipient

Thalia Martinez, Happy Valley School

Abigail Minton, Gamewell Middle School

Madison Muniz, Oak Hill School

Dot and Jim Moore Dream Award Recipient

Elle Nichols, Blowing Rock Elementary School
Eric Nunez, Bethel School

Talia Osborne, Granite Falls Middle School

Maddie Parker, Cove Creek Elementary School

Melanie Parsons, Kings Creek School

Joseph Penley, Hardin Park Elementary School

Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award Recipient

Sara Pina, Granite Falls Middle School

Debbie Yount Dream Award Recipient

Madison Roark, Green Valley Elementary School

Chelsie Sheppard, Happy Valley School

Dwight and Rose Church Dream Award Recipient

Garrett Smargian, Kings Creek School

Landon Upchurch, William Lenoir Middle School

Kylie Williams, Hudson Middle School