ECC Awards Nearly 400 Credentials
Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans told Edgecombe Community College graduates they have the tools for success that no one can take away during Commencement exercises at ECC.
Evans gave the keynote address during the ceremony held May 12 in Keihin Auditorium. He has served as county manager since 2015 and has worked for Edgecombe County for more than 21 years.
ECC’s Class of 2023 comprises 336 students who received 399 degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Forty of these students were recognized for completing Adult High School Equivalency and Adult High School diplomas.
Evans began his keynote address by sharing the story of his father, who grew up on a farm in the rural South during the Great Depression. His father married when he was 18, and the young couple moved to Washington, DC. “He didn’t have a high school diploma, but he realized he had something very valuable – his right hand and his left hand. He knew he could use these to build a life, not just through manual labor, but those hands represented his willingness to work hard,” Evans said.
His father worked two jobs for more than 25 years, providing for his wife and eight children, the youngest of whom is Evans. “What I learned is the importance of using the tools that no one can take away. You have these tools, too. You have been using them to work hard. In just a few minutes, you will have another tool, a degree.”
Evans closed by advising graduates to remember that success is not a destination but a journey. “Even with the degree, success will require the willingness to work hard. I want the memory of my father to remind you that you already have the tools you need, and no one can take them away.”
Graduate Guadalupe Valdez-Marroquin was honored as the 2023 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee from ECC. A first-generation college student, she took classes at ECC when she was in high school. Following high school, she enrolled at the college and says ECC feels like her second home.
She graduated with an associate in science degree and will transfer to the University of Greensboro this fall and study biology to become a high school biology teacher.
Terrence Baker was recognized as the North Carolina Community College Academic Excellence Award recipient from ECC. He was working as a manager in the airport industry when the pandemic struck. Travel came to a standstill, and his job, along with countless others, disappeared overnight.
Baker saw this as an opportunity to focus on what he had always wanted to do – teach. He enrolled at ECC, earning an associate degree in early childhood education.
Sheleta George, who also received an associate degree in early childhood education, was honored as the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award nominee from the college. At ECC, she was an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and served this year as parliamentarian on the Student Government Association board.
A full-time student, she also works full time at a local childcare center and is a single mother to three children. She says one of the reasons she decided to return to school was to inspire her children. “It is my hope that I inspire them to be better than me, but most importantly, that anything worth having is worth fighting for.”
Also participating in the graduation were ECC trustees Jerry Spruell and Josie Davis, and college leaders Dr. Greg McLeod, Samanthia Phillips, Dr. Bruce Panneton, Christine Nicodemus, Michael Starling, Nacole Everette, and Dr. LaShawnda Washington.
See graduation rehearsal photos on Facebook
See graduation photos on Facebook