4 May, 2017
Gadsden State Community College recently held its 51st annual Honors Day events at the Ayers Campus Learning Resource Center in Anniston and at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center in Gadsden. The programs spanned two days of recognizing student achievements and scholarship presentations. Over 150 students were honored and more than $1.3 million was awarded in scholarships.
Traditionally one of the highest honors presented each spring is the Allen-Ray Award. The award, which has been presented at every Honors Day program over the past 51 years, is presented in honor of the late Sen. James B. Allen and the late Jack Ray, former CEO of the Exchange Bank of Alabama. Both men were active supporters of Gadsden State. Anirban Biswas is the 2017 recipient of the Allen-Ray Award. He was presented the award by Catherine Martin, granddaughter of Jack Ray and marketing director at Exchange Bank.
The President’s Cup, a designated award for students who demonstrate exceptional success in all phases of college life, is presented each year to students in both the academic and technical divisions. It is given by Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State.
The Academic division recipient for the Anniston campuses is Sharon Davis of Weaver, who enrolled at Gadsden State after her job at the incinerator ended. In May, she will graduate with two Associate in Applied Science degrees in Office Administration and General Studies. She plans to continue her education at Jacksonville State University to major in business management and accounting. At Gadsden State, she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Phi Beta Lambda, Aspiring Accountants, the Student Success Club, the National Society for Leadership Success and the National Technical Honor Society. She was included in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.
Anniston’s Technical division recipient of the President’s Cup is Christopher Ray Parrish of Muscadine. He is currently completing his requirements for a degree in welding technology. Parrish was also recognized at the Honors Day ceremony as Outstanding Student in Vocational Technical English and Outstanding Student in Welding Technology. At Gadsden State, he has been on the President’s List and Dean’s List. He is a member of the Student Success Club, Phi Theta Kappa and the National Technical Honor Society. After graduation, he plans to get a job as a welder.
Two Anniston area students were presented awards for outstanding achievement. The Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize students who have succeeded in pursuit of higher education in spite of varying traumas, adversities, personal losses and difficulties.
The Outstanding Achievement Awards given at the Ayers Campus event went to Cassidy Blu Stephens and Laura Pritchett, both of Anniston. The awards were presented by Audrey Webb, an Automotive Manufacturing Technology instructor.
Stephens is working on her Associate of Science degree in General Studies at the Ayers Campus. She plans to transfer to Jacksonville State University to pursue a degree in Computer Science. During her time at Gadsden State as a non-traditional student, she has succeeded despite having to overcome many health, family and socioeconomic obstacles. Stephens is an honors student who serves as a tutor in Student Support Services and is a member Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She is also a volunteer for various animal shelters and rescue groups in Calhoun County.
Pritchett thought getting a college education was out of her reach after giving birth to two children by the time she was 19. She worked dead-end jobs but craved to further her education and increase her employability. With the encouragement of her husband, Tony Pritchett, and their four children, she enrolled at Gadsden State and will receive her associate degree in Business Administration in August.
Other winners recognized at the Honors Day for students at the Ayers and McClellan campuses include:
The Cardinal Foundation/Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce Scholarships: Torren Wilson of Piedmont and Markeisha Dearman of Weaver
Outstanding Students in History: Maddie Averette of Jacksonville, Brody Jones of Piedmont, Dakota Heathcock of Alexandria, Corey Holcomb of Anniston and Dakota Vance of White Plains
Outstanding Students in Speech: Cole Bush of Oxford, Joshua Kotlowski of Anniston and Gabe Weatherspoon of Zanesville, Ohio
Outstanding Student in English Composition: Taylor Allen of Lincoln
Outstanding Student in English Composition II: Fulton White of Delta
Outstanding Student in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology: Peter Gregory Turner of Oxford
Outstanding Student in Drafting and Design Technology: Gregory Martin Haas of Oxford
Outstanding Student in Precision Machining: Willis Lynn Mitchell of Talladega
Outstanding Student in Automotive Manufacturing Technology: William Hunter Cotton of Munford
Outstanding Student in Electronic Engineering Technology: Micah Reid Dempsey of Oxford
Outstanding Students in Electrical Technology: Seth Daniel Choron of Anniston and Patrick Andrew O’Neal of Wedowee
Outstanding Student in Industrial Automation Technology: Dewey Jacob Harrelson of Jacksonville
Outstanding Student in Auto Collision Repair Technology: Clevious Porter of Talladega
Outstanding Math Students: Dakota Heathcock of Alexandria and Crystal Casey of Tyler, Texas
Outstanding Students in Welding Technology: Caleb Costanzo of Lincoln, Karla Gay of Oxford, Christopher Parrish of Muscadine, Daniel Lee Marcus Stone of Anniston and Blake Ingram Haynie of Munford
Outstanding Achievement in Accounting: Cheyenne Fulmer of Jacksonville
Outstanding Achievement in Office Administration Medical: Carolyn A. Norton of Anniston
Outstanding Student in Diesel Technology: Austin Lee Smith of Alexandria
Outstanding Student in Salon and Spa Management: Elayne Gladden Winston of Anniston
Outstanding Student in Computer Science: Brandy Wudarczyk of Anniston
Who’s Who 2017: Brandi Wudarczyk, Cassidy Stephens and Michael Mercer, all of Anniston; Kedrick Carmicheal of Talladega; Erin Farlow of Alexandria; Long Le of Ohatchee and Jean Dumont of Jacksonville