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Criminal Justice Graduate Selected as Academic Excellence Award Winner


Clarissa Shelton Haywood Community College Criminal Justice Technology graduate Clarissa Shelton was selected as the college's Academic Excellence Award winner. The wife, full-time employee, and mother to a nine-year-old juggled many roles while completing the program completely online.

After finishing high school about two decades ago, Shelton knew coming back to school was going to be a big change. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” she explains, “but I knew it was going to be worth it. My experience at HCC has given me the tools I need to enter a career that I’m excited about.”

For the last 12 years, Shelton has worked at Mission Health System in the Security Dispatch Office. Her career goal is to become a probation officer. “I want to help those that have made some unfortunate decisions get back on the right track,” Shelton says. “I hope to make a positive impact on those I will be supervising, as well as the community.”

Shelton has made a big impact at home. “I realized by doing homework at home it was being noticed by my son. At first, I thought it was taking time from being present with him, but really he was seeing that if you want something badly enough, it takes hard work and determination.”

Shelton finished HCC in December and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree.

Registration for summer and fall semesters is now open. Visit or call 828-627-2821 for more information.


Photo by Suzanna Moses


Haywood Community College (HCC) is part of the North Carolina Community College System and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1965, it is an open-door institution with the mission to serve the educational needs and economic growth of our community by promoting lifelong student learning and success. This includes programs for Haywood County high school students through Career and College Promise and Haywood Early College. The college campus, a designated arboretum, boasts one of the most beautiful college campuses in the state with an iconic mill pond, a productive greenhouse, dahlia gardens, an orchard garden and a rhododendron garden.