Welding Student Receives National Scholarship

During this month's signing ceremony at PCC, Ayden-Grifton High School student Emonnie Koonce (left) received the “Skilled Trades–3M Transformational Scholarship” worth $1,000. On hand for the presentation were Parker Carnes (center), who is Koonce's PCC welding instructor at AGHS, and PCC Welding Technology Department Chair Keith Kinlaw.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College was one of more than 75 institutions of higher learning from throughout the country to host an event last week in honor of high school students committed to pursuing education and training that leads to technical careers.

PCC’s “NC3 National Letter of Intent Signing Day” program took place April 18 and featured local students pledging to begin their college careers at Pitt during the 2024-25 academic year. The ceremony was sponsored by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) and broadcast via the internet.

“It was a great event that gave our Construction and Industrial Technology (CIT) personnel an opportunity to welcome and congratulate future students for their decision to pursue technical education and to highlight our programs, industry connections and facilities,” said PCC CIT Dean Patrick Jacques. “More than 60 students participated in the ceremony, and a number of industry representatives were on hand to speak with them about high-demand jobs in technical fields.”

In addition to celebrating future welders, electricians, HVAC technicians and other tradespeople, Signing Day included the presentation of the “Skilled Trades–3M Transformational Scholarship” to Ayden-Grifton High School (AGHS) student Emonnie Koonce. 3M and NC3 established the national award to help colleges, like PCC, bridge inequality gaps within the communities they serve through skilled trades and education.

The $1,000 Koonce received through the scholarship will go toward his PCC educational expenses when he enrolls full-time in August to pursue an associate degree in welding. Koonce is already taking welding courses that Pitt offers at AGHS through the N.C. Career and College Promise Program and was nominated for the 3M Scholarship by his PCC instructor, Parker Carnes.

Alvin Frazier, who helped organize Pitt’s Signing Day program as the college’s CIT recruiting coordinator, says Koonce was chosen from a pool of more than 200 scholarship applicants.

“Emonnie was one of just 20 students from across the nation to be selected to receive the $1,000-scholarship,” Frazier said. “The sponsor, 3M, said it was one of the strongest applicant pools they’ve had since they started the program.”