New Century Scholars Senior Donor Dinner
Every year, seniors in the NCS program are honored by the people who helped them reach their full potential. Donors, board and steering committee members, families, and CIS staff surround the students with a night of celebration. They have almost reached graduation and the opportunities are plenty.
On Sunday, February 24th, the Senior Donor Dinner took place for the NCS Class of 2019. CIS board member and WCS Director of Testing and Accountability, Dr. Donna Cotton, welcomed the crowd. At each table, students were able to share their future plans with donors as they enjoyed a dinner prepared by Tipton's catering. To begin the program, Melissa Higgins, CIS Director of Diversified Programs, expressed her pride in the NCS students. "In 6th grade, you may have thought 'why me? why now?'" Melissa suggested. She then assured the students they were exactly where they needed to be then, and they are exactly where they need to be now. Even if those students did not recognize their potential in the 6th grade, school staff and counselors did. Awarding a scholarship in 6th grade is not the normal timeline, but having the extra support of CIS staff and volunteers would allow the students to thrive even more than they imagined. Mrs. Higgins raved about the work ethic of this NCS class, joking that they have nearly worked her to death some days. She also addressed the familial relationship that's been built between the students and CIS staff. Mrs. Higgins and NCS Program Coordinator, Vickie Call, have formed bonds with the NCS students that will go beyond graduation. New Century Scholar graduates will have a support system for a lifetime because of this program.
Vickie Call, the NCS Program Coordinator, spoke to the attendees next. She explained that through her time working with the New Century Scholars program, as a volunteer, and as an employee, she has come to the conclusion that each student is full of potential and will go far in their journey after high school. "Not only have you maintained your grades and pushed yourself academically you have donated your time and talents to our community and to Communities In Schools," Mrs. Call stated. She then thanked the parents and guardians of the NCS students for allowing their child to participate in the program, driving them back and forth to events, and for all the times parents jumped in to help, too!
Following Mrs. Call, Wilkes Community College President, Jeff A. Cox, Ed.D., addressed the room. Dr. Cox explained that neither of his parents had a college degree but they understood the importance of education, just like their families and supporters understand. He went on to discuss the difficulty of the path ahead "College is hard. It will prepare you for the future, but it's not going to be easy. I challenge you today to not ever give up!" Dr. Cox exclaimed. He explained that about 300 students who attended WCC in the fall did not return for the spring semester. Although most of those students have plans to return, he asked the NCS students to persevere and push through when faced with adversity. Dr. Cox told the students that he wanted the same from them as he wants from his own sons. He asked the NCS students to remember to pursue a major that will lead to a career. "Don't pursue this passion if there's no way to make a living doing that, but don't pursue something just for money. You can find both!" To finish his speech, Dr. Cox encouraged each student to stop by his office at WCC next year to let him know how things are going and if they need anything at all.
Dr. Cox invited Sheneele Wagoner, WCC Lead Teacher of Developmental Education and Student Success, to help deliver the Class of 2019 New Century Scholar certificates to each student. Mrs. Wagoner asked the crowd to join her in basking in the glory of the students in the room. She reinforced to the students that they will always have a support system to rely on in CIS and their constituents.
After each student received a certificate from Wilkes Community College acknowledging their achievements, CIS Executive Director, Glendora Yarbrough, took to the podium to address the attendees. Glendora's theme was "relationships." She began her speech with a quote from the founder of CIS, Bill Miliken: “It’s relationships, not programs, that change children,” Bill once said. “A great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they also have a sense of belonging to a caring community.” She explained that 40 years later, this quote still guides the organization's mission and serves as a beacon for the next chapter. Glendora went on to discuss how the New Century Scholars program has been instilling the importance of relationships since 2001. The relationships the students form with the program coordinators is a key piece to the success of the program.
After honoring each board member, steering committee member, and donor, Glendora asked them to exchange information with the student they were sitting with to help form one more developmental relationship for that student's future. Many of the donors and students exchanged information. Some students even wrote nice notes on their information card to thank the donor for investing in their future. Relationships helped get each student where they are today; now they have one more person in their support system as they get ready to embark on the journey ahead.
CONGRATULATIONS, NEW CENTURY SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2019!
Stephanie Albanil-Rangel, Hannah Billings, Lindsey Billings, Colton Briand, Sydney Chambers, Adriana Diaz-Montez, Tate Foster, Zamian Gwyn, Christine Harris, Samuel Harris, Tamia Harris, Caleb Hicks, Hailey Hogan, Brittany Isaacs, Keira Johnson, Joseph Jones, Kenia Martinez-Soto, Anakin Myers and Maria Watson
DONORS TO THE CLASS OF 2019
James & Rose Andrews
Blue Ridge Tractor
Delta Kappa Gamma Delta Chi Chapter
Cam & Tammy Finley
John & Peggy Harwell
Marc & Carla Hauser
Lee & Pam Herring
Hunting Creek Transport~Ronald Queen
Mike and Rachel Jordan
Michael & Faye Kennedy
Arnold & Becky Lakey
Samantha Hauser Lockton &
Miller Funeral Service~
Wayne & Kathy Myers
Dr. Sylvia Smith
Diane & Larry Stone
Northwest General Insurance~
Lanny & Diane Stephens
United Way of Wilkes County
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Wilkes Medical Center
Wilkes Chamber Foundation
Wilkes Income Tax
Wilkes Vision 20/20