Wilkes Community College (WCC) held its 26th Annual Student Awards Reception at the John A. Walker Community Center. Students received a variety of academic, club, and leadership awards. WCC is proud of the many accomplishments of its students and congratulates everyone listed below on their well-earned recognitions.

NCCCS Academic Excellence Award

l-r: Willard Sheet and Dr. Jeff Cox

Willard Sheets was chosen as the 2022-23 Academic Excellence Award recipient. Sheets has maintained a 4.0-grade point average (GPA) while working on a double major. He already holds an AAS degree in Applied Engineering as well and plans to transfer to N.C. State University where he will double major in electrical and computer engineering. Sheets, a SkillsUSA Gold Medalist was nominated by several faculty members for this year’s award.

Sheets stated, “I believe two things are key to academic success: First, you must realize that learning happens by choice, and second, you must be willing to make that choice every day, for every class. Being able to do that isn’t always so easy; it didn’t really click for me until late in high school. Now, I try to maintain the mindset that every class is important and look for ways to invest myself in learning.” He added, “It’s harder if you don’t have any personal interest, so recognizing where each piece of knowledge might fit into your career or finding ways to tie it to other hobbies and interests is vital. Staying organized is also essential. Checking and updating my planner is a constant in my daily routine. I always make sure to allow plenty of time for studying and doing assignments, and I’m constantly thinking about what to work on now, being mindful of deadlines, and looking toward what’s next. Peer pressure goes a long way as well. I thrive by tutoring and mentoring my peers and can confirm teaching a subject is the best way to learn it—especially when you don’t want to let down the people you’re teaching.”

Dallas Herring Achievement Award

l-r: Kim Faw and Marlena Mudd

Marlena Mudd was chosen as this year’s Dallas Herring Achievement recipient. Mudd is a wife, mother, full-time teacher’s assistant in an Exceptional Children’s classroom, and a full-time student. She has three children who have all been diagnosed to be on the Autism spectrum among other developmental and physical delays. Mudd faces her own challenges as she has personally been diagnosed with dyslexia.

Her nomination letter read in part, “To know Marlena is to know patience, perseverance, and dedication. In the Wilkes Community College Early Childhood Education classroom, she is an example for her peers, with a 3.8 GPA in Early Childhood Education- Transfer Specialty AAS. She is an “A” student who works diligently on every assignment, shares her own experiences, and is always eager to learn more from others. Marlena is on track to graduate in May 2023 and plans to transfer to a university where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in special education.” The letter went on to say, “Observing Marlena in a Spring 2022 internship, it is obvious she has a heart for all ages and easily adapts to any classroom and situation. Through her education at WCC, Marlena has learned that she is an auditory and hands-on learner. She has expressed frustrations with reading as she has a hard time focusing on words which leads to headaches and a lack of comprehension. She now uses a read-aloud program on her laptop to assist her with this specific challenge. She exudes the Dallas Herring philosophy because although life has given her many challenges to face, she looks at those challenges as opportunities to learn, grow professionally, and pursue her education so she can serve others who are presented with similar challenges. Marlena feels privileged to work with children who are facing challenges of their own and feels that her job is her “home away from home.”

Bob Scott Student Leadership Award

l-r: Lacey Church and Scott Johnson

WCC has nominated Lacey Church for the Bob Scott Student Leadership Award. Student Life Coordinator, Wendy Harris stated, “Lacey is focused, determined, and motivated as demonstrated by her initiative to seek opportunities for personal growth. She was the 2021-22 WCC SGA Secretary and is now the 2022-23 Public Information Officer. Lacey applied and was chosen as a 2022-23 participant in the North Carolina Student Leadership Development Program (SLDP). Along with her WCC SGA and SLDP duties, Lacey is also currently a member of the WCC SOBiE Club, WCC Club of the Arts, Phi Theta Kappa and is a WCC Peer Tutor for the Graphic Design program. Lacey has been involved with many WCC events and activities including blood drives, Welcome Back events, the fall festival, mental health events, Constitution Day, and many others.” She added, “Lacey’s perseverance and dedication to personal and student body growth is demonstrated by her leadership and involvement within the WCC campus and her community. Lacey has developed leadership skills that will be vital to her as she transitions from WCC to the four-year university and beyond.”


Business/Public Service – Maria Shatley, Colleen Cassell, and Dalton Miller.

Applied Career Technology – William “Noah” Blackburn, Tabitha Armstrong, and Dakota Baker

Health Sciences – Evelin Limon-Davalos and Rachel Sutphin

Associate in Arts – Presley Barker

Associate in Science – Willard Sheets and Tori Teague

Wilkes Early College High School – Victoria Wright and William Epley

Ashe Early College High School – Aiden Libero and Gavin Parsons

Ashe Campus – John Perkins and Katherine Hankins

Alleghany Center – Autumn Hirschy and Hailie Sheets

Outstanding Student Achievement Awards

Arts & Sciences

Associate in Arts – Austin Triplette, Gabriel Walsh, Amara “Faith” Epley, Eden Whitby, Kandis Shore, Jacob Spriggs, Michael Broda Jr., Benjamin Anderson, and Hannah Bumgarner

Associates in Science – Autumn Williams, Aidan Byrd, Elisha Ralston, and Camden Woodie.

Associate in Engineering – Jackson Martin

Business/Public Service

Accounting & Finance – Breanna Bratton

Advertising & Graphic Design – Dillon Bullard

Baking & Pastry Arts Technology – Harley Stout

Business Administration – Bailey Bennett and Dalton Miller

Criminal Justice – Joshua Goodman

Culinary Arts – James Yates

Early Childhood – Maria Shatley

Health Sciences

Dental Assisting – Ashlyn Morgan

Emergency Medical Science – Victoria Jolly

Human Services – Allena Coffey

Medical Assisting – Becky Sanchez

Nursing – Rachel Sutphin

Radiography – Jaime Christy

Respiratory Therapy – Kou Thao

Applied Career Technology

Animal Science – Tabitha Armstrong

Animal Science – Poultry Management – Kody Brown

Applied Engineering, Specialty in Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology– Jacob Dimmette

Outstanding Student Achievement in Applied Engineering Technology, Specialty in Robotics, Applied Engineering Technology, Specialty in Automation & Mechatronics – Andrew Ferguson

Architectural Technology – Dakota Baker

Collision & Refinishing Technology – Derek Pennington

Building Construction Technology – Aaron Hamby

Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology – Colby Bauguess

Horticulture Science Technology – Timothy Bennett

Agricultural Equipment Technology – Ethan Oliver

Construction Equipment Systems Technology – Logan H. Johnson

Agribusiness Technology – Tanya Fox

Industrial Engineering Technology – Jared Bumgarner

Club Awards

Animal Science Outstanding Club Leadership – Tabitha Armstrong

Auto Body Outstanding Club Member – Logan Stuckey

Automotive Systems Technology Outstanding Leadership – Dylan McCrea

Building Construction Outstanding Club Member – Brian Tyler

Diesel Outstanding Club Member – Logan Johnson

Future Farmers of America Outstanding Club Member – Arianna Miller

Horticulture Club Outstanding Officer – Timothy Bennett

Student Information Technology Outstanding Club Member – Nicholas Fox

Respiratory Therapy Association Club Outstanding Leadership – Evelin Limon-Davalos

Rotaract-Wilkes Outstanding Club Leadership – Molly Glen

SAGE Outstanding Club Member – Matthew “Trevor” Williams

SOBiE Outstanding Club Leadership – Amelia Culver

Student Government Association Outstanding Club Member – Peyton Paisley

Student Nurses Club, 1st Year Outstanding Club Member – Jessica Henriquez-Amaya

Student Nurses Club, 2nd Year Outstanding Club Member – Brianna Bumgarner

WCC Welding Outstanding Club Member – Jake Davis

Human Services Outstanding Club Member – Allena Coffey

Radiography Outstanding Club Member – Tonya Hutchens

“I want to thank all of our outstanding students for the hard work and dedication you’ve given. These students represent our entire student body and not just in academic excellence, but in all the other competing things they have going in their lives, working full-time jobs, sometimes multiple jobs, family commitments, dealing with sick children, and caring for elderly parents. Our students run the spectrum of all kinds of challenges, and it’s very heartwarming to hear about the academic excellence that our students continue to maintain despite all the challenges that life may offer,” said Dr. Jeff Cox, president of Wilkes Community College.