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COA Alumni Connect Goes to Roanoke Island Festival Park

Manteo — College of The Albemarle (COA) staff and Board of Trustees member, Tommy Fulcher, ventured to the beautiful Roanoke Island Festival Park on Aug. 9 to honor Arturo Lara, 2017 COA graduate.

Originally from Illinois, Lara moved to Dare County, graduated from Manteo High School and enrolled in COA shortly thereafter. While taking a government class under COA instructor, Russ Lay, he was introduced to COA’s Hospitality and Tourism program after hearing a presentation from Tim Sweeney, dean at COA’s Dare Campus.

Lara completed the program and began working at the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo as a volunteer in ticket sales. Anna Davis, the park’s manager of Education and Interpretation asked Arturo if he would be interested in serving in an educational role. Arturo now works in a variety of roles: an education interpreter, a sailor on board the Elizabeth II vessel or as one of the first English settlers at the park’s settlement site. He credits Dr. Tina Bradley, COA instructor, for using maps and regional history in her lessons to provide students with knowledge on the area. Lara found Dr. Bradley’s discussions on talking points with tourists to be most beneficial and expressed his confidence behind his work because he completed the Hospitality and Tourism Certification.

“Every second community colleges are becoming more important to our community and to our state. This was a great way for COA to connect to the community and current and future students,” said Kimberly Sawyer, executive director, Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Lara is not only a COA graduate, he is also a member of the Dare County Democratic Party, president of the Manteo Lions Club and a member of the Manteo Rotary Club. He attends Mount Olivet United Methodist Church where he sings in the choir.

“Thank you, Arturo for being a great ambassador for your community and for College of The Albemarle,” said COA Board of Trustees member, Tommy Fulcher.

For more information on programs, call Sherri May at 252-473-2264 ext. 7511 or

Pictured (left to right): Tommy Fulcher, Timothy Sweeney, Arturo Lara, Lynn Hurdle-Winslow, Dr. Belinda Petricek