One by one, their stories were told: moving tales of perseverance and resolve, offered by faculty and staff, highlighting the determination of 17 CCA students. These students were recognized at the sixth annual Student Success Awards ceremony on Dec. 3 and were lauded for their tenacity in pursuing a higher education.
CCA staffer Stephanie Agner, a 2007 award winner, was master of ceremonies. President Linda Bowman congratulated students for their hard work and thanked the CCA Foundation for its sponsorship of the event and its support of the educational mission of the college. “I’m here at CCA for the same reason all of you are,” she told the crowd. “Wonderful students, wonderful faculty and staff – by all of us being here together, the world changes.”
Larry Pisciotta, longtime supporter and a member of the Foundation board of directors, offered keynote remarks. He recalled his decision to attend community college in Pueblo, Colo. “I wasn’t ready for a four-year college,” he said. “It was a big step in my life. I was introduced to new thoughts and ideas while there. I got acquainted with professors, and they encouraged me to succeed.” He continued: “Community college was my base, my foundation—and having a foundation is the whole crux of success.” How important is a college degree? he asked. “It puts you at a different level. An employer knows you have what it takes for success if you have a degree, and they’ll take a chance on you.”
Pisciotta, who found professional success at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and as founder of Brakes Plus, summarized: “My main message: Do what you love. Find what you love, and go after it. Then, do the best you can at it. Play hard, but always work hard, and you will be successful.”
The 2010 Student Success honorees are Heath Wolfe, Komi A. Agbo, Keren Vargas, Bridgette Williams, Debra Kingsley, Darren Mans, Pearl Ogbonnaya, Ermias Nagash, Jaime Corchado, April Loyd, William Kleinman, Cary Caruthers, Samantha Nieto, Kimberly Ballard, William Robinson, Christopher Wilkins, and Devon Tate.
Awards committee members include James Gray, Peggy Norwood, and Margaret Uchner. Gray, the acknowledged “father” of the Awards, said that CCA has many students juggling families and full-time jobs who put in the time and effort to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through education. “The Student Success Awards give a simple acknowledgement of these stories,” Gray said. “We set aside this special time to recognize those who exercise determination, leadership, perseverance, and attributes of success other than academic performance.”