For Lynn and Samantha Mintz, this year’s graduation from HCC is a special occasion to share between mother and daughter. Between the two, they earned three associate degrees, a diploma, and three certificates.

Mom, Lynn finished accounting and business administration with two Associate degrees, as well as a diploma and a certificate in Accounting. Samantha finished with an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education-Special Education and certificates in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education-Special Education. 

The pair say that going through college together gave them something unique to share, along with some good old-fashioned competition and encouragement. In addition, both work at the college in some capacity. Lynn serves as a supervisor with HyTech Pro janitorial services. Samantha is an assistant teacher in the college’s Regional Center for the Advancement of Children for the 2s and 3s room.

For Lynn, she loves numbers. She completed her work-based learning experience through Barbara McNary, Certified Public Accountant. “Working in that office tied all my classes together,” Lynn says. “The days I would be at work there, I couldn’t believe how fast time went by.”

Lynn says both degrees give graduates a lot of options for a career path.

Samantha also enjoyed applying what she learned in class directly to her job. “I was able to put into practice what I was learning about in class,” she says. “The best part of my job is when these children show you how much they have learned from you. They show you that they grasped a concept you just explained.”

Samantha would like to work one-on-one with children to study their behavior. “I want to help find out why a child is acting the way they are acting. What works for one child may not be the best solution for the next child.”

Both Sindi and Walt Pafford had successful careers before coming to HCC but say they wish they had come to the school sooner. Sindi received a Professional Crafts Clay degree at the recent graduation ceremony and Walt finished the Professional Crafts Wood program. The couple came to the college to learn a trade that would supplement their retirement.

The Paffords plan to continue on at HCC in the fall. Sindi will enter the Horticulture program and Walt will study Professional Crafts Clay. In the meantime, they plan to put their latest degrees to work on a retail or contract basis. They will sell a variety of custom work at seasonal craft festivals.

Walt is a third generation carpenter and builder and is licensed in North Carolina. He has over 50 years of experience as a builder. The Professional Crafts Wood program was a natural extension of his background with Walt building onto his talents.

In addition, Sindi spent 25 years in graphic design, owning a graphics and design company. She now puts her artistic talents into clay.

Married 44 years, the Paffords have traveled to more than 20 countries as missionaries building over 200 schools, orphanages, and churches in places such as Central America, South America, Scotland, the Marshall Islands and Zimbabwe, and Africa. Sindi lends her talents to the field in many ways, from painting murals to caring for the children. 

“We have a genuine love of these people,” Walt explains of working in the mission field. “There is a fulfillment in helping people.”

The Paffords live on a farm with a huge garden, chicken, rabbits, and fruit trees. The Horticulture program will be a nice compliment to their lifestyle.

Doug Cabe, HCC Lead Computer-Integrated Machining instructor, has been associated with the college in one way or another for the past 25 years. His first encounter was when he attended a workshop with his job. When he went into the Regional High Technology Center and saw all the equipment, he knew he wanted to be a student here.

In 1990, Cabe received a diploma in Machining and Advanced Machining. Now, Cabe has finished the Associate degree program in Computer-Integrated Machining.

Cabe always ensures that his students understand that the Computer-Integrated Machining degree is a versatile degree that enables them to choose from a number of jobs, some of which include: manufacturing, machine shops, fabrication industries, tool and dye, and much more. While it is important that students learn to become a good machinist, Cabe says it’s more important that they learn what it takes to become a good employee for the industry.

“I love teaching,” Cabe says. “I love it more than anything I’ve ever done. I like to see students succeed and get jobs. HCC has a really good reputation for turning out machinists.”

Cabe first started at HCC as a substitute teacher. He then became part-time and then moved to full-time. He worked for Wellco-Rosearch for 23 years until it closed.

“This college is a great place to work and go to school,” Cabe explains. “It’s like a second family to me. It’s one of the best colleges in the state.”

This year, more than 600 certificates, diplomas, or degrees were awarded at HCC’s Graduation Ceremonies. For information about HCC’s many programs, call 627-4500 or visit on the Internet. 

Photos by Aaron Mabry.