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VISIONS Celebrates High School Participants’ Success

PCC High School VISIONS Coordinator Jim Shallow announces Farmville Central High School student Sherlyn Chavarria-Lozano, left, as this year's “Most Improved GPA Award” recipient while fellow High School VISIONS Coordinator Katelynn Speas applauds.

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WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program celebrated the upcoming graduations of its high school participants Tuesday.

The annual event featured awards presentations, VISIONS participants sharing their program experiences, and encouragement for the soon-to-be graduates from VISIONS staff and key partners — the PCC Foundation, Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation and Pitt County Schools.

“We’re always excited about seeing VISIONS students succeed and recognizing the hard work they put in to reach their academic potential, and this year may even be a little extra special, since it’s the program’s 20th anniversary,” said PCC VISIONS Director Rebecca Warren. “Many of the students honored tonight won’t receive recognition during awards programs at their respective high schools, but we believe the dedication and perseverance they demonstrate through VISIONS are worth celebrating.”

Established in 2004 to help reduce Pitt County’s high school dropout rate, VISIONS provides a select group of students each year with mentorship and opportunities for personal and career development to help them earn diplomas and transition into higher education. Between 2005 and 2024, 98% of 1,224 VISIONS participants completed high school on time. Another 73 — representing six Pitt County public high schools — are expected to graduate this month.

“Through the VISIONS program, students are challenged to learn more about who they are individually, what makes them focused on their goals, and what they can do academically to reach those milestones,” said PCC High School VISIONS Coordinator Katelynn Speas. “These students have dedicated a great deal of time to the program through participation in evening seminars, individual meetings, Summer Institute and many other activities.”

As the evening’s keynote speaker, PCC Police Chief Tyrone Turnage encouraged the Class of 2024 to “strive for excellence and eventually it will become the standard by which things are done.” He urged them to continue building bridges by recognizing those who have invested in their success and paying it forward someday.

“Please embrace the moment and truly understand that because of a sharp vision and a made-up mind, coupled with dedication and discipline, you made this vision a reality,” Turnage said. “Complete this process repeatedly and each time set your sights higher and higher ….”

While every student received recognition for completing the VISIONS high school program, 32 earned special recognition for recording unweighted GPAs of 3.0 or higher by the end of the 2023 Fall Semester. From that group, D.H. Conley High School’s Angela Aldana earned “Academic MVP” honors for having an unweighted GPA of 4.0 — highest among this year’s VISIONS class.

Another 37 students were celebrated for GPA improvement during their time with VISIONS. Of those honorees, Farmville Central’s Sherlyn Chavarria-Lozano earned the “Most Improved GPA Award.” Chavarria-Lozano was also recognized for making the courageous decision to serve in the nation’s armed forces as a member of the U.S. Army.

This year’s Barbara & Jim Moye Endowed Scholarship was presented to J.H. Rose student Nhari Newsome, and the Susan Q. Nobles VISIONS Endowed Scholarship went to South Central senior Harold Godboalt. Newsome will pursue an associate degree in nursing at Pitt while Godboalt will seek a Business Administration–Marketing degree.

“Over the course of my time in VISIONS, I have learned that I am smart, driven and a hard worker,” Godboalt said. “I know that as long as I stay focused and serious about my goals, there isn’t anything I can’t accomplish.”

Godboalt was one of six students named a “VISIONS Champion” for assisting with the recruitment of future program participants and serving as their mentors. Joining him were Skylar Vines, Joshua White, Landon O’Neal, Yousra Abdellou and Jo’Zyra Riddick.

Also honored Tuesday were 24 students who took PCC courses through North Carolina’s Career and College Promise program and achieved a 3.0 GPA or higher in them. VISIONS personnel also took a moment to thank PCC President Lawrence L. Rouse and Pitt County Schools Superintendent Ethan Lenker for their support of the program. Both Rouse and Lenker have announced their retirement this year.

Though some students honored this month, like Chavarria-Lozano, will join the military, enroll at other institutions or enter the workforce, most will move on to PCC this fall. Those who do will receive scholarships and continue receiving personal and academic counseling from college VISIONS staff.

05/16/2024