LILLINGTON - Central Carolina Community College and Western Harnett High School are celebrating a close relationship benefiting the students who graduate from the school.
Administrators from the college visited the high school June 13 to present the college's first President's Cup to the school's principal and guidance counselors. The cup, a new award, will be presented annually to the high school with the highest percentage of graduates who continue their education at CCCC.
Of Western Harnett's 242 graduates in 2010, 46 - 19 percent - enrolled at CCCC. That is the highest percentage of all the high schools in the college's service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. Other high schools with double-digit CCCC enrollments from the Class of 2010 were: Southern Lee, 17 percent; Lee County, 16 percent; Northwood, 14 percent; and Chatham Central, 13 percent.
"At Western Harnett, we want to provide our kids with as many options as we can," said Principal William Wright Jr. "CCCC offers our graduates a diversity of opportunities. Some are interested in the trades and computer-based programs; many go into the college transfer program. CCCC gives our kids options."
WHHS counselor Shannon Bradley said that the counselors encourage their students to look at CCCC because the college has a lot to offer. Bradley knows from experience. She earned her associate's degree in university transfer at CCCC in 1993, then transferred to Campbell University, where she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees.
"CCCC offers an affordable alternative to starting at a four-year institution," she said. "Some students are not academically confident. Going to CCCC gives them a good foundation and the confidence to go on."
Counselor Reginald Lowery added that some of the high school's brightest students, who could go directly to a university, choose to go to CCCC.
"It's nearby, affordable, and gives them opportunities to explore their options," he said.
The idea for a President's Cup came out of the college's Information and Planning Conference committee as a way to recognize the high school that sends the highest percentage of its students to CCCC each year. The Cup will be held by the winning school for a year and then presented to the next year's winner at the college's annual IPC.
That conference, held annually in November, introduces high school principals, counselors, career-technical education coordinators and career development coordinators to what the college offers their graduates.
"The students at the high schools in our service area become our students," said Bobby Wicker, CCCC director of recruitment. "This is one way we hope to encourage the schools to send us more."
Making the presentation of the President's Cup were CCCC administrators Vice President for Academic Affairs Lisa Chapman, Harnett Provost Bill Tyson, and Dean of Vocational and Technical Programs Stephen Athans. Receiving it were WHHS Principal William Wright Jr., and counselors Shannon Bradley, Reginald Lowery, and Cynthia Wood.
The President's Cup is a handsome multicolored ceramic bowl, about 12 inches in diameter, created by Joyce Bryan, ceramics instructor in the college's Professional Arts and Crafts: Sculpture program. Bryan is also a professional potter with her own business, Stone Crow Pottery, in Pittsboro.
For more information about programs at Central Carolina Community College, visit its Web site, www.cccc.edu