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RCC Grad Dulce Rocha named 2023 Academic Excellence Winner

Each year, Robeson Community College selects one special student from its graduating class to be the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award.  This award is given out at each of the 58 community colleges in North Carolina and signifies highest academic honor that a student can achieve. This award honors those who have set the bar high, achieving the highest possible goals to attain the pinnacle of academic success.

The RCC 2023 recipient of the award was given to Dulce Rocha, an associate degree nursing student. Rocha was recognized during the 2023 Commencement Ceremony held on May 10. 

“When I applied to the nursing program in the Spring of 2021, I was fresh out of high school with a strong desire for success,” Rocha said. “I have always been very goal driven and becoming a nurse has been my dream since I was a little girl.”

Rocha faced many obstacles along her journey to reach her goals.  She was born and raised in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. As she was growing up, she never thought that becoming a college graduate would be possible due to financial hardships and civil insecurities she witnessed on a daily basis. However, when her family moved to America, in hopes of seeking a better life, her mindset changed and she began to realize that her dreams could become a reality.

“This student knew that her parents sacrificed everything for them to have the opportunity to receive a quality education,” RCC President Melissa Singler said as she presented Rocha with the award. “We are thankful Robeson Community has been able to be a part of your story and to be able to provide a path that will allow you to achieve success today and tomorrow, living out your dreams of becoming a nurse.”

The oldest of three children, Rocha says she has always felt responsible for being a role model to her younger siblings and wants to be able to take care of her parents. She says that now she has completed her degree at Robeson Community College, she will be able to fulfill the promises she made to her family and be someone that her siblings and others in her community can look up to for inspiration.

“This journey has not been an easy one,” Rocha said. “I always say, “It is not about wanting to get up and do the work, but rather being dedicated to your goals and doing everything you can to cross that finish line… My education is opening doors for me that before I could only have dreamed of.”

In 2022, Rocha served as the Chief Marshall for the Associate Degree Nursing class during the pinning ceremony, and things have just kept looking up for her since that time. She began precepting in what she calls her “dream unit” at her “preferred hospital.” She was named as one of the recipients of the 2023 Leadership Award presented to her during the ADN pinning ceremony and is now studying to pass the NCLEX, the exam required to become a licensed registered nurse.

“Dreams become a reality if you put in the work,” Rocha said. “The best is yet to come.”

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