Competing for an academic or student leadership award at College of The Albemarle just got a little harder.
During the school’s annual Academic and Student Leadership Awards Program Tuesday night, about 120 COA students were on hand to receive their awards and were recognized for their dedication to their studies and the college. But being selected, said Dr. Evonne Carter, COA’s vice president of learning, was no easy feat.
This year, Carter and other faculty members reviewed the criteria for the academic awards and made it a little tougher to earn one. In addition to increasing the GPA requirement to a 3.6 or 3.7 – depending on the academic program – the faculty also increased the number of credits the student must have completed to earn one of the awards and they also increased the number of semesters students have to have finished in their respective curriculum. Carter said the faculty was also sure to represent all academic programs in creating the awards.
“It’s a special kind of award because we’ve identified criteria so the cream will rise to the top,” Carter said. “They were really chosen for that purpose, so they would go to the students who worked so hard.”
Sandi Thigpen, the Student Government Association’s current President, received two awards during the ceremony. Thigpen received a Student Government Association Recognition Award, as well as a national Who’s Who Award.
“At 47 years old, to walk across the stage, it’s important to me,” said Thigpen, a single mom. Being a good role model to her 19-year-old son, who is also currently enrolled at COA, is also important. The awards, Thigpen added, are reflective of all the hard work she has put in behind-the scenes with the SGA and in her studies.
In a few weeks, Thigpen graduates from COA with her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and her Associate’s Degree in Arts. This fall, she will transfer to Elizabeth City State University where she plans on earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Business, with a minor in marketing.
Not all students who earned an award, were on hand at the ceremony to receive the recognition. Some recipients were so dedicated to their studies, they were unable to attend the COA Award Program because they were studying for exams. In fact, all 15 aviation students who were set to receive an Academic Excellence in Business and Applied Technology Award, had to miss the ceremony because they were in class.
Of the eight students receiving an Academic Excellence in Health Sciences Award, only five recipients were are able to attend the April 28th ceremony. The rest, said Robin Harris, division chair of the school’s Health Sciences and Wellness Programs, were also home studying for exams.
Students receiving one Health Sciences Award have a high standard to meet, needing to earn a 3.7 GPA or higher to earn the distinction.
“You won’t see many names on our list but you’ll know they have gone through a certain amount of rigor,” Harris said. “It’s a tough standard and we’re really proud of students who are able to meet it.”
It is this level of dedication and determination, said Steve Woodburn, COA’s vice president of student success and enrollment management, which the college wanted to recognize during the awards ceremony.
“There’s nothing more important to us up here, than recognizing those folks down there,” Woodburn said, referring to the faculty seated on the stage and the students seated in the audience at the Performing Arts Center where the ceremony took place.
“They are the reason we do what we do,” Woodburn added. “We know how hard they worked and we know their stories.”
Photo: Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer (left) poses with Amanda J. Everett, COA’s Academic Excellence Award Winner.