SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College named 19 students as finalists for its 2020-2021 Student Excellence Awards. Two students were chosen to represent the College in competition at the state level, with a third selected for the Rowan-Cabarrus Academic Excellence winner.

Taylor BrigmanTaylor Brigman was honored as the Rowan-Cabarrus Academic Excellence Award winner. The award recognizes the academic achievement, leadership, and community service of a student from each of the 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. In addition to volunteering with campus and community organizations, Brigman represented more than 6,000 fellow students as Student Government Association president, served on committees across the College, represented students at Board of Trustees meetings, and maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She graduated in May 2021 with an Associate in Arts degree.


Allyson HucksAllyson Hucks was chosen as the Rowan-Cabarrus Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee. Dr. Herring, a North Carolina native, is acknowledged as the philosophical godfather of the state’s community college system 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.” Hucks found her college plans derailed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28. After intensive treatment, she emerged cancer-free, but was afraid the window for attending college had passed. Despite having a family to care for, she enrolled at Rowan-Cabarrus to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education, proving to herself and others that it is never too late for college.


Damola OgunyomiDamola Ogunyomi, the College’s Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award nominee, was honored as the Region 2 recipient of the award within the North Carolina Community College System. Robert W. Scott served as N.C. State Governor and later as president of the North Carolina Community College System, and the award bearing his name honors students who demonstrate extraordinary leadership qualities. Ogunyomi, a native of Nigeria, graduated in May 2021 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Nursing. While a student at Rowan-Cabarrus, she held leadership positions in a variety of campus organizations, including serving as a Student Ambassador and serving as president of the Student Nurses Association. She also was a recipient of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Silver Leadership Award.

Nineteen Student Excellence Award finalists were selected for personal interviews from a pool of hundreds of applicants.

Along with Brigman, Hucks and Ogunyomi, the 2020-2021 Rowan-Cabarrus Student Excellence Award finalists were: Annette Belanger, Claire Brathier, Ariana Brown, Ariel Coughenour, Mitchell Darnell, Grace Dunn, Katie Greer, Marie Griffin, Noelle Harris, Ian Nettles, Valentina Neumiller, Jayla Renaud, Robert Rhyne, Vallie Vasquez Valenzuela, Mira White, and Miranda Wyatt.

“We are extremely pleased to recognize these exceptional students and their impressive accomplishments,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “As we learned about their life experiences, personal victories and goals for the future, we were inspired and very proud of their achievement, leadership and perseverance.”