Last Updated on November 6, 2021 6:18 pm
Nearly 90 students from Caldwell and Watauga counties took their first steps toward being college graduates as the Foundation of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute hosted its annual Dream Award ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir on Wednesday.
Unable to host the traditional annual event in 2020 due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the Foundation of CCC&TI decided to honor two years’ worth of Dream scholars in one ceremony. The Dream Award, which ensures free tuition for local students to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school, was presented to 86 middle school students from Caldwell and Watauga counties.
Dream Award recipients are selected from among sixth-grade students in Caldwell and Watauga counties. Those selected must be first-generation college students who have demonstrated academic achievement and civic involvement, and who have the potential to succeed. The program, which is funded through private donations to the Foundation, has presented awards to 1,364 students since its inception in 1989.
CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch opened the ceremony by welcoming scholars, their families and guests. “I’d like to be one of the first to congratulate you on receiving this award. Congratulations to the class of 2026 and class of 2027,” Poarch said. He also recognized members of CCC&TI’s Board of Trustees who were in attendance for the event, and thanked other community leaders, including school officials from Caldwell and Watauga counties.
Peg Broyhill, Chairwoman of the CCC&TI Foundation, congratulated the group and recognized her fellow Foundation Board members and CCC&TI administrators as well as various county school officials, local organizations, civic groups, churches and clubs whose contributions help make the program possible.
She gave special thanks for endowments and grants made possible by the Broyhill Family Foundation, the Coffey Foundation, the Granite Falls High School Class of 1963, the Hogan Family Foundation and the Rose and Dwight Church Family. She also recognized Dr. Tony Deal, retired Executive Vice President and Vice President of Student Services at CCC&TI, who introduced the idea of the Dream Award more than 30 years ago.
“You are the first in your families to attend college and now you will have the opportunity to lead the way for generations to come,” Broyhill said. “We look forward to seeing you shine and hearing about your successes in the future.”
Dena Holman, Vice President of Student Services at CCC&TI, provided a history of the program and encouraged recipients to make the most of the opportunity.
“With the promise of college in sight, now is the time to start setting your goals and dreaming of your future,” Holman said. “We encourage you to never stop dreaming and never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.”
Holman then introduced guest speakers Irene Caldwell, a 2015 CCC&TI graduate, and Stephanie Reeves, a 2021 CCC&TI graduate. Both told event guests about how attending CCC&TI has changed their lives and offered advice on succeeding as a first-generation college student.
Caldwell shared her story of overcoming health issues at 41, enrolling at CCC&TI and how it impacted her life. “Be willing to take chances,” she urged the group. “You can’t do anything if you don’t take the chance. Go for it.”
Reeves, who now works in the corporate office at Blue Ridge Energy, shared how she was scared to go to college, but found the help she needed at CCC&TI to be successful. “CCC&TI is the place where your dreams can become a reality,” she said. “I owe everything to CCC&TI because they believed in me. And it’s the same belief that they have in each of you.”
To conclude the ceremony, Dream recipients introduced themselves to the audience and shared their career goals, while Holman read comments from their Dream nominations.
2020 Dream Award Recipients
Helen Abarado, Collettsville School
Ciara Angove, William Lenoir Middle School
Victoria Ashley, Cove Creek School
Savannah Auton, Valle Crucis School
James Bates, Oak Hill School
Dominick Becht, Oak Hill School
Alaina Church, Granite Falls Middle School *Debbie Yount Dream Award Recipient
Parker Coffey, Granite Falls Middle School
Braxtyn Conn, Granite Falls Middle School
Samantha Contreras, Hudson Middle School
Cameron Crawford, William Lenoir Middle School
Thomas Deiters, Parkway School
Hailey Dunn, Hardin Park School
Corbin Forbes, Collettsville School
Kyleigh Ford, Blowing Rock School
Colton Greene, Hudson Middle School
Leah Greene, Happy Valley School
Yessi Guzman, Gamewell Middle School
Marissa Harmon, Bethel School
Katelynn Johnston, Kings Creek School
Aaliyha Kirby, Collettsville School
Antony Mendez Alcaraz, Cove Creek School
Merrix Oakes, Bethel School
Velkan Ortiz Coronel, Collettsville School
Samuel Palma, Gamewell Middle School *Dr. Tony Deal Dream Award Recipient
Josiah Pope, Kings Creek School
Olivia Ray, Green Valley School
Sophie Reece, Mabel School
Ashlin Rudisill, Granite Falls Middle School
Hannah Sheffey, Cove Creek School *Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award
Marisah Sluder, Bethel School
Cadence Smith, Green Valley School
Presley Smith, Happy Valley School *Dwight and Rose Church Dream Award
Sarah Spann, Oak Hill School
Kaegan Stough, Kings Creek School
Steven Tran, Hardin Park School
Juan Valdovinos-Lemus, Valle Crucis School
Lilah Vestey, Valle Crucis School
Declan Warlick, Happy Valley School
Lia Washington, William Lenoir Middle School
Amber Watson, Parkway School *Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award
Saydie Weaver, Mabel School
Dorian Whitehead, Blowing Rock School
Mackenzie Wishion, Gamewell Middle School
Chloe Woody, Hudson Middle School
2021 Dream Award Recipients
Tristan Barlow, Granite Falls Middle School *Debbie Yount Dream Award
Zain Benfield, Mabel School
Liberty Bolick, Hudson Middle School
Jonathan Botello, Parkway School
Kalani Brown, Hardin Park School
Madison Caldwell, Collettsville School
Ava Carignan, Valle Crucis School
Josephine Cornett, Valle Crucis School
Lillian Crosswell, Blowing Rock School
Crawley Dawkins-Young, Hudson Middle School
Isabelle Diaz Torres, Kings Creek School
Karsyn Drum, Hudson Middle School
Kathryn Drum, Gamewell Middle School
Layah Dula, William Lenoir Middle School
Jasmin Flores Valencia, Granite Falls Middle School
Jeralyn Gonzalez, Bethel School
Emile Greer, Green Valley School
Courtney Hartley, Collettsville School
Morgan Hensley, Hudson Middle School
Kaitlynn Hinson, Happy Valley School
Charles Hubbard, Parkway School
Aliese Isaacs, Parkway School
Charles Kerley, Bethel School
Aaliah Macias, William Lenoir Middle School
Mario Martinez-Munoz, William Lenoir Middle School *Dr. Tony Deal Dream Award
Emma Miller, Green Valley School
Valerie Miranda-Mejia, Blowing Rock School
Stephanie Morales-Mendez, Cove Creek School
Lucas Palmer, Gamewell Middle School
Emma Parsons, Granite Falls Middle School
Brodi Pope, Happy Valley School
Christopher Ruiz Alegria, Hardin Park School
Claudia Sapon Baran, Hardin Park School
Lyla Swanson, Collettsville School
Caleb Triplett, Kings Creek School
Jaiden Watson, Happy Valley School
Leah Watson, Kings Creek School
Matthew Weiss, Gamewell Middle School
Zachary Westpfahl, Mabel School
Presli Wood, Cove Creek School
Sierra Wood, Happy Valley School *Dwight and Rose Church Dream Award
Pictured are the 2020 Dream Award recipients who participated in Wednesday’s ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir. The award, presented by the Foundation of CCC&TI, ensures free tuition to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school.
Pictured are the 2021 Dream Award recipients who participated in Wednesday’s ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir. The award, presented by the Foundation of CCC&TI, ensures free tuition to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school.
Irene Caldwell, a 2015 graduate of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, speaks to Dream Award recipients about her success story at Wednesday’s ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.
Stephanie Reeves, a 2021 graduate of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, speaks to Dream Award recipients about her college experience during Wednesday’s ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.