SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is pleased to announce the top 18 Student Excellence Awards finalists and winners.

Annually, through a rigorous nomination process, the College has the opportunity to select the institution’s most excellent students.

“These finalists represent the best and brightest of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We could not be more proud to recognize these students whose outstanding accomplishments reflect the core values of our college.”

The 2016-17 Rowan-Cabarrus Excellence Award top 18 finalists include:

  • Pat Brown
  • Ashlyn Coble
  • Sheryee Cunningham
  • Jessica Driver
  • Najma Hassan
  • April Honbarger
  • Aaron Humphrey
  • Deborah Mattox
  • Daphne Moore
  • Larry Newcomb
  • Heath Newton
  • Raissa Nguendi
  • Eduardo Otero
  • Trudy Persons
  • Penny Webster
  • Tonya Wessman
  • Katherine Wingler

The finalists were up for three prestigious awards. Competition was rigorous as the Student Excellence Award Committee began with a pool of over 400 eligible students. Award candidates included Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation scholarship recipients, faculty and staff nominees, and student organization leaders. Student nominees were invited to write a 500-word essay to be reviewed by a committee, and of the 98 submitted essays, 18 finalists were selected to be interviewed.

“The committee was honored to interview each of the finalists and learn more about their journeys,” said Natasha Lipscomb, director of student life and leadership development at Rowan-Cabarrus. “Each student had such a unique perspective based on their life experiences thus far. Their stories were touching and their goals inspiring. Narrowing down to just three winners was a tough decision, as all 18 finalists are truly remarkable people.”

Aaron Humphrey received the Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes the academic achievement, leadership and community service of one student from each of the 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System.

Najma Hassan was awarded the Dallas Herring Achievement Award. Dr. Herring, a Duplin County native, is acknowledged as the philosophical godfather of the state’s community college system. He may be best known for his belief that education should be available to all and that community colleges should “….take people from where they are, to as far as they can go.” The award is given annually to a current or former community college student who best embodies Dr. Herring’s philosophy.

Additionally, Kathryn “Bailey” Wingler was honored as the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award nominee. This award is named in honor of Robert W. Scott, who served as N.C. State Governor from 1969-1973 and as president of the North Carolina Community College System from 1983-1995. The award is bestowed on students who demonstrate leadership on a statewide level

“I am so proud of not only Aaron, Bailey, and Najma, but all of the finalists. They are all so deserving,” said Lipscomb. “These students represent the College well.”

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit or call 704-216-RCCC (7222). The College is currently accepting applications for the fall 2017 term and registration is now underway for fall classes beginning on August 14, 2017.