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HCC Student honored with NCCCS Academic Excellence Award

Halifax Community College’s (HCC) Crystal Bell has been honored by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) as an outstanding student, earning the system’s Academic Excellence Award. The recognition was made during the NCCCS “The Great Within the 58” Excellence Event, April 14, honoring academic achievement at a ceremony in Raleigh. This year, only one student from every community college in the state received the Academic Excellence medal and a certificate from NCCCS.

 

It wasn’t always about recognition ceremonies for the Roanoke Rapids resident, though. Bell’s life was quite different before HCC. She was a high school dropout and was homeless at the age of 16. As an older teenager, she had a roof over her head, but was subjected to frequent drug busts due to the lifestyles of others living in the home.

 

By the fall of 2006, with the encouragement and support of close friends, Mr. Carter and Shawn Robinson, she decided to enroll at HCC and began working towards her GED. At the time, she was not sure whether or not she would succeed. Then, in the spring of 2007, she graduated with the GED. “I was the first person in my family to ever receive a high school diploma,” said Bell.

 

By fall 2007, Bell decided to enroll at HCC and started taking courses in the Human Services Technology Program. She is now in her last semester and holds a 3.97 grade point average.

In addition to her coursework, in the spring of 2009, she worked as a volunteer at System of Care Mentor Center. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, president of the Human Service Club, a Who’s Who student, and a scholarship recipient.

“My experience at HCC has been the best experience in my life. I have developed new skills, gained confidence in myself, and I am now looking forward to a bright future,” added Bell, who plans to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After earning those credentials, she would like to work in child protective services to help abused children.

Her take-away message is this, “No matter where you came from and what you’ve been through, you can change.”

The recommended criteria for Academic Excellence selections include current students and those who have completed at least 12 semester hours in an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, or Associate of General Studies degree. Students must also have a cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.25.

 Crystal Bell and Dr. Griffin with Award

HCC’s Crystal Bell, left, has been honored by the North Carolina Community College System as an outstanding student, earning the system’s Academic Excellence Award. Pictured with Bell is HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr.