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RCC honors donors, students during scholarship reception

Tuesday evening at Robeson Community College was a night to honor exceptional scholars and the most gracious donors. The RCC Foundation hosted a ‘Celebration of Education’ donor and scholarship appreciation dinner which brought students and those who graciously gave, together.

“We want to welcome you all to Robeson Community College for this celebration,” stated RCC President Melissa Singler. “Words cannot express the gratitude that we have for our donors, without you, many of our students would not have the opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams…We thank you and please know how much we appreciate you and all that you do for our students.”

One individual who says obtaining an education would have been out of his reach was Alumnus Timothy Sampson, who currently serves as the RCC Alumni Association President.

“Where would we be without generous donors like you,” Sampson stated. “Your generosity empowered me and so many others to pursue an education… thank you for believing in me and for investing in my future.”

Sampson says that without RCC, so many things in his life would be different now.

“I met my wife here at Robeson Community College,” Sampson said. “RCC has meant so much to me in my life… I appreciate all the donors and all that you do for us, and all that you have done for me.”

Students like Francine D. McLaurin (pictured right)  ‘felt blessed’ to be there. McLaurin enrolled in the Basic Electricity Class that was held in Maxton. It was a 500-hour continuing education class. She received the Duke/Rotary Grant Scholarship, making it possible for her to attend.

“I was the oldest student in the class,” McLaurin said as she laughed. “It was fun and I enjoyed being around all the young folk.”

McLaurin is 68 years young and will be 69 this September. 

“I believe in lifelong learning,” McLaurin stated. “I am a landlord and I wanted to learn about electricity because I know next to nothing… taking the class has helped me at my own house and also with my small business.”

McLaurin’s daughter, Kimberly, attended the event in support of her mom.

“It is good to see her continue her education and to not become stagnant after retirement,” the younger McLaurin said. “It has been interesting to watch… she loves to learn.”

McLaurin says she has taken other continuing education classes at RCC like CPR and entrepreneurship classes.

“Back in the 1970’s I took my first continuing education in EMT and became an EMT,” McLaurin proudly said. “I got married in 1979 and eventually became a registered nurse working in the emergency room… what I learned at RCC I utilized in the emergency room.”

Seeing lives changed, and seeing the positive results, is what keeps donors like Valerie Comrie of the 4×4 Perfect Timing Scholarship, giving to Robeson Community College.

“It is so rewarding to be able to give,” stated Comrie. “Education is so important and it is so necessary, and that’s especially true in this community…With some of the challenges that we face, with things that are not going so well in Robeson County, the way to begin to change all of that starts with education.”

Julie Baxley, the director of Workforce Solutions at RCC, understands the needs students have.

“I see students struggling,” Baxley stated. “I see them in Real Estate, Notary, CDL, Pharmacy Tech… our students need help, and when we have opportunities to provide scholarships for our students, it truly touches me.”

Baxley coordinated the SECU Bridge for Career Scholarship, which helped to provide funding for many students in continuing education.

“On behalf of our staff, students I congratulate you on your achievements, and to all the donors, I want to thank you,” Baxley said.

Aaron Smith, a respiratory therapy student and recipient of the National Board for Respiratory Care Foundation Scholarship, said it best.

“You invested in my education and changed my life,” Smith said. “I would not be here without the Foundation and your support… you have instilled in me to give back, and I will work tirelessly so that others can receive what I have received… thank you for seeing in me, what I couldn’t see in myself.”

If you would like to become a part of student success at Robeson Community College and help change lives, please contact the RCC Foundation at 910-272-3236.



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