Top Students Honored for Academic Excellence and Volunteerism

Group photo of 2023 Academic Excellence Award recipients.

WINTERVILLE—More than 50 Pitt Community College students were honored for their classroom success and service to campus and the community this month as part of the annual PCC Academic Excellence Awards Ceremony.

The program, which took place March 24, featured the presentation of certificates and medallions to 48 Academic Excellence Award recipients, who were nominated for the honor by faculty and staff. Another three students, including one AEA winner, were recognized for their success in developmental studies courses, and a pair of student-athletes earned accolades for their achievements in the classroom and intercollegiate athletics.

PCC Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Evans congratulated the honorees and assured them they would “always be a part of the Bulldog family” as they enter the workforce or move on to four-year schools to further their studies. He also commended PCC employees for their efforts to support student success.

“We are here today to celebrate you and the hard work that you have invested to pursue your education,” Evans said. “I would also like to say a special thank you to our faculty and staff for their dedication to educating and empowering you for success.”

Garret Freeman Jr., who is Pitt’s nominee for the N.C. Community College System’s (NCCCS) Dallas Herring Achievement Award, was the program’s featured speaker. An Associate in Engineering student, he said he has found a home at PCC – nine years after graduating from Northern Nash High School in 2012.

“PCC has truly changed my life,” he said. “It allowed me to have a second opportunity in life while allowing me to meet people who have had a positive impact on my future.”

As part of the ceremony, PCC announced the recipients of several special awards.

Jarius Washington, a Simulation and Game Design student, was selected as Pitt’s recipient of a State Academic Excellence Award from NCCCS. A Dean’s List student from Winterville, he is a PCC Student Ambassador and member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and the National Honor Society of Leadership and Service (NSLS).

PCC Student Government Association President Tahira Gatson received the 2023 President’s Scholarship worth $1,000 from the PCC Foundation. An Information Technology: Computer Programming and Development student, Gatson is a former Marine with plans to open a website design business upon completion of her studies.

This year’s $500-President’s Award went to nursing student Zachary K. Liaros, who has a 4.0 GPA. Liaros’s community service includes tutoring at the local library and volunteering with the American Cancer Society’s McConnell-Raab Hope Lodge, NCPacks4Patriots, and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Division Awards were presented to Freeman (Arts and Sciences), Washington (Business), Building Construction student Nathaniel Rollins (Construction and Industrial Technology), Health Information Technology’s Nickki Austin (Health Sciences) and Advertising and Graphic Design student Jayvon Hurd (Public Services and Fine Arts). Each student received $250 through the honor.

Awards were also given to Stacy Adderley, Patricia McLaughlin and Nsanga Nsenda for excellence in Developmental Studies courses. McLaughlin, an Advertising and Graphic Design student, was also an Academic Excellence Award recipient.

In addition to her scholarship, Gatson was named PCC’s nominee for NCCCS’s Gov. Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. A Texas native, Gatson is a Dean’s List student with a 3.52 GPA. She is co-president of PTK and a member of NSLS and the PCC Student Veterans Association.

PCC volleyball player Dakota Newberry, an Associate in Science student, and baseball’s Caleb May, an Associate in Arts student, received Student-Athlete Awards in recognition of academic achievement, good sportsmanship, and the positive impact they’ve had on their teams and community. Both Newberry and May have 4.0 GPAs.