HAYWOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE

185 FREEDLANDER DRIVE

CLYDE, NORTH CAROLINA 28721

CONTACT: DEBBIE DAVIS

DIANA CONARD

PHONE: 627-4521

DATE: 04-28-03

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NC COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARD RECIPIENTS

Two Haywood Community College students, Sharon Lanning and Joseph Michael Byrd, were awarded the North Carolina Community College System Academic Excellence Award.

Michael Byrd is from Bakersville, North Carolina and is a Forest Management Technology student. Upon graduating from HCC, he plans to eventually transfer to North Carolina State University. "I would like to work for the state forest service in a small community so I can get to know the local people," Byrd explains.

Byrd says that instructors at HCC teach in a way students can understand. "In the Forest management Technology program, we spend a lot of time learning things hands-on like using tools and taking measurements," Byrd explains. "The most enjoyable part of learning at HCC to me is competing in the timber sports competition and being a part of the teams like the quiz bowl team."

Byrd came to HCC straight out of high school where he described himself as an average student. Winning the Academic Excellence Award was a pleasant surprise for him.

Sharon Lanning, a Waynesville resident, is a student in Business Administration. She is employed by the State of North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and returned to school at the encouragement of her employer. Lanning plans to pursue an accounting degree at HCC in the fall and then continue her education at a 4-year university. Throughout her time at HCC, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. "It is a challenge to be 100 percent employee, student, and family member," Lanning says, "But I am able to do it because of dedication not only of myself but also my employer and family."

Lanning says the instructors at HCC are very qualified and conscious of students’ needs. "I have applied a lot of the things I learned in class on my job." Lanning has developed a monthly report program that saves more than 50 percent of the time previously spent on producing the same data. This program is now used virtually across the state.

Both Byrd and Lanning were honored at an awards luncheon at the Hilton in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, April 24. This awards luncheon is an opportunity for the Community College System to showcase its students and their academic achievements and to highlight the work that the colleges do every day. Two students are selected from each community college in the system, with 116 students being recognized. Recipients of the award must be currently enrolled, have completed at least 12 semester hours, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25.

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