Haywood Community College


Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard

185 Freedlander Drive

Clyde, NC 28721

828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 3-10-06

For immediate release.


Two Haywood Community College students, Kalyn Matthews and Andrew Penland, were awarded the North Carolina Community College System Academic Excellence Award.

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Matthews currently lives in Clyde, NC and is a student in the Nursing program. Upon graduating from HCC, she plans to become a registered nurse in Haywood Regional Medical Center's emergency room or intensive care unit. She is currently employed at HRMC as an emergency room technician.

Matthews has spent time tutoring anatomy and physiology in the HCC Teaching and Learning Center. She has also served as the Student Government nursing representative and helped coordinate the nursing health fair held on campus. She is married to Clint Matthews. They have a three and a half year-old daughter.

Matthews says she enjoys the smaller classes at HCC. "People here know my name and are willing to help," she explains. "I enjoy the personalized attention."

Matthews says it's a huge honor to be selected for the Academic Excellence Award. "Just to be nominated is humbling," she said. "It's hard as a middle-aged student to divide your focus between school, family, and financial obligations. It requires a greater focus and determination. It's worth all the hours and sacrifice I've put into it."

Matthews says she choose HCC because the nursing program is rated top notch and comes highly recommended by others in the medical field. She likes the high standards set by the HCC instructors.

Like Matthews, Andrew Penland chose HCC because of the good things he heard about it from other students and the fact that it was close to home. He says he has found a strong sense of guidance at HCC. "I have received individual attention. The instructors make an effort to accommodate individual needs and help in reaching goals."

Penland will graduate from HCC this summer from the Associate in Arts program. He will continue his education at either WCU or UNCA and major in English or math education to become a high school teacher and wrestling coach.

"I want to teach at the high school level because I want to help students of this age find their identity. High school students are at a stage where they understand there's a world outside of school," Penland explains. "I believe a good teacher can convey a lot more than the subject matter they are teaching such as values, how to succeed in life, and finding happiness."

Penland is from Concord, North Carolina but moved to the area four years ago. He is a freelance writer for the Asheville Citizen-Times and coaches wrestling at Enka High School.

"It is an honor to be selected for the Academic Excellence Award. There's a lot of excellent students here," Penland explains. "I see how hard other students are working, many balancing families and school."

Both Matthews and Penland will be honored at an awards luncheon in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, April 27. 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. 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.

Photos attached: (photos by Debra Davis)

#1. Andrew Penland

#2. Kaylan Matthews