Top 10 stories of 2023 at RCC
For Robeson Community College, the year 2023 was a year filled with students soaring to new heights and the college thriving, growing, and achieving success and raising the bar high. The college made headlines week after week, with stories ranging from a special visit from the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus in January to a ribbon cutting ceremony in late December to celebrate the opening of the renovated addition to Building 11, which added more classroom space for law enforcement and criminal justice programs. In 2023, RCC was featured multiple times on WWAY through 21 different segments showcasing various programs from Business Administration to Welding. Many programs achieved a 100% pass rate on State Boards and Examinations, including Surgical Technology, Radiography, Respiratory Therapy, and Nurse Aide. It was also the year that SOAR magazine was launched and it’s the year that Robeson County had a chance to learn more about the college from faculty and staff through 26 interviews broadcast on 100.9 The Cross
Although you might argue that every story was deserving to be in the top 10, below are the stories that were the most shared and most-talked about in 2023 about Robeson Community College across the region, the state, and beyond.
Top 10 Stories of 2023
Two recent graduates have helped to put Robeson Community College’s Mechatronics program on the map.
Jeremiah Locklear and Angel Santiago brought home silver from the National SkillsUSA competition held in Atlanta, Georgia in June, placing second in Mechatronics with a high score of 95.8. The duo competed against students from across the country and were finalists again teams from Tennessee, who took first place, and Georgia, which placed third.
The team was led by RCC Mechatronics Instructors Joseph Nation and Heath Worriax, who attended the competition with the students.
At the North Carolina SkillsUSA competition in Greensboro, RCC competed in three separate competitions – Mechatronics, Electrical Systems, and Cosmetology. RCC had several teams in the mechatronics competition, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, ensuring a seat at the national competition in Atlanta. In the electrical systems category, Robeson Community College was represented in two categories, taking 4th, 5th, and 6th place. Several cosmetology students created ‘fantasy displays’ to showcase their talent in hair and makeup artistry. RCC took 4th and 5th place in the cosmetology category.
Robesonian: RCC’s Locklear and Santiago bring home silver from National SkillsUSA | Robesonian
The RCC Foundation unveiled its Veteran’s Wall of Honor in January during a special tribute featuring the Lumbee Warriors and the Robeson County Honor Guard. Heather Seibles, the interim director of advancement, organized the event and told those gathered that the RCC Foundation had exceeded all expectations in raising funds for the newly established scholarship for military-affiliated students.It only took a few seconds for the Veterans Wall of Honor to be uncovered, but once it was visible, everyone started looking for the names of loved ones.
The wall features all six branches of government – the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, and the newest branch, the United States Space Force.
Space is still available on the Veterans Wall of Honor. Giving levels for plaques on the Veterans Wall of Honor include $250 for white stripes, $500 for red stripes, $750 for middle red strips, and $1000 for stars. Donors can provide text for 2 lines per plate, 21 characters each.
The AISES Region 7 conference was held in April with 250 individuals attending, representing eight states and the District of Columbia, making it one of the highest-attended conferences in Zone 7. The conference featured two keynote speakers, UNC Chapel Hill Professor Dr. Jada Brooks and Microsoft Executive Zachary Oxendine, both with Robeson County roots and members of the Lumbee Tribe.
Conference-goers had a chance to learn about engineering, technology, and more during break-out sessions from organizations such as NASA and ETI. The conference came to a close with AISES Fest which included a powwow with local arts, crafts, and food vendors.
Thanks to an outpouring of support from the region, the conference was able to generate $45,000. The proceeds from the conference were used to provide eight $500 scholarships to students attending, and establish an endowment at Robeson Community College.
Robeson Community College’s enrollment continues to grow semester after semester, with continuing education and short-term training that continue to flourish and more students seeking to complete a certificate, diploma, or degree through curriculum programs.
2023 will go down in history as one of the largest graduating classes for RCC. Robeson Community College, awarded 258 associate degrees, 48 diplomas, and 79 high school diplomas, for a total of 385 credentials conferred.
Of the 385 graduates, 191 earned an associate of applied science degree, 32 completed an associate of arts, 2 were candidates for the associate of general education, 33 received the associate in science degree, 48 were awarded a diploma in a curriculum program of study, and 79 students completed the requirements for a high school diploma through Career and College Readiness.
Robeson Community College announced in January that it has been awarded a $242,690 sponsorship from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) to implement an Insurance Pre-licensing Academy.
The grant received is part of the Agent Diversity Program, an initiative seeking to create a more diverse talent pool of agents, which further develops Blue Cross NC’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, while improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians.
Students enrolled in the academy may earn scholarship opportunities and a pathway to a career in the insurance industry where women and minorities have long been underrepresented.
The story was originally aired by WMBF News and went viral across the country, being picked up by media outlets in over a dozen states.
A new partnership formed between Fayetteville Technical Community College and Robeson Community College means new opportunities for students in Robeson County.
The new agreement was signed in early August and gives RCC students a competitive advantage when seeking to apply to the dental assisting, dental hygiene, and funeral services programs at Fayetteville Tech.
Students will complete general education credits at Robeson Community College and then will transfer to FTCC to complete the program specific classes required for the associate degree in dental assisting, dental hygiene or funeral services education, upon being accepted into the program chosen.
Students seeking to enter FayTech through the agreement must still meet program application requirements and be admitted into the program.
Greater Fayetteville Business Journal: Fayetteville Technical Community College signs strategic regional partnership agreement with Robeson Community College | BizFayetteville
Robeson Community College expanded into Maxton, increasing access to education this past summer. The college began offering adult high school education and basic electrical classes in June at the Maxton Learning Academy, located at 305 North Hooper Street.
The college hopes the launch of these classes will be the start of a new beginning for Robeson Community College and those seeking personal enrichment or professional development opportunities in the Maxton area.
More than 40 individuals came to the first information session held to learn more about the programs available, and the college successfully launched two classes in basic electricity, one in June and the other in September, with hopes of offering more short-term training opportunities in the future.
Laurinburg Exchange: Robeson Community College expanding to Maxton | Laurinburg Exchange
Robeson Community College announced in August a new venture in partnership with TimelyCare, the premier virtual health and well-being solution in higher education. Beginning with the Fall 2023 semester, the college began offering students free and equitable access to mental health support and medical care through TimelyCare. This resource was also extended to all full-time and part-time employees at RCC.
TimelyCare serves as a 24/7 virtual extension of campus health and counseling center resources with a mission of improving student well-being, engagement, and retention.
By simply using their phones, students at Robeson Community College are able to select a wide-range of menu options through the virtual care of licensed physicians and counselors in all 50 states at no cost and without the hassle of traditional insurance. This benefit is available to students enrolled in curriculum and continuing education programs that meet on a regular basis throughout the semester.
Diverse Issues in higher education: Robeson Community College Partners with TimelyCare to Offer Free Mental Health Support to Students and Employees | Diverse: Issues In Higher Education (diverseeducation.com)
It was a beautiful fall day in late October when Robeson Community College held its First Fall Festival at its COMTech location. The event was a huge success. Officials estimated that approximately 500 people came out to enjoy the celebration, which included free workshops, haircuts, chair massages, manicures, blood pressure checks, flu shots and more. Over 30 vendors set up outside, making the RCC COMTech location the place to be on October 26th.
The COMTech is slated to be the site for a new building approved by the North Carolina Legislatures in late September. The new budget passed provides $20 million dollars for the construction of a building to house short-term health occupation programs such as a phlebotomy, pharmacy technician, and nurse aide, which will eventually provide more space for future expansion of health science programs on the main campus in Lumberton. The funding was made possible through the delegation of North Carolina Senator Danny Britt and NC Representatives Jarrod Lowery and Brendan Jones.
“Resilient and Enduring – We are still here.”
That’s the message that organizers of Robeson Community College’s 3rd Annual Native American Heritage Month Celebration tried to convey to those attending the cultural exhibition held on its campus in November. The event drew hundreds of visitors, including school children from across the region – some from as far away as Scotland County. Guests were treated to a special powwow in the afternoon, which featured song and dance by the Lumbee Ambassadors and the Lumbee Drum Group, with rich storytelling and history lessons.
Other noteworthy stories from 2023 include the RCC Culinary Arts Department winning 1st place in the Lumbee Warrior Wing Contest during Lumbee Homecoming; multiple donations were received from Mountaire Farms including equipment for the Industrial Technologies program, gloves for health sciences and public services, and a hefty donation of 500 pounds of chickento the culinary arts program; the creation of the ‘Rock Your World’ $1600 scholarship through a partnership with Cumulus Media and Rock 103; a $25,000 gift from the Julian T. Pierce Endowment, as well as a $25,000 donation from the Robert P. Holding Foundation presented by First Citizens Bank, both bestowed to the RCC Foundation to help further the mission of Robeson Community College of achieving student success through quality education.
So here’s to 2024. Robeson Community College knows that the best is yet to come, and that 2024 will be filled with even more positive moments and newsworthy events. Be sure to follow RCC on social media to keep up with all the great things happening and so you can be “in the know” all year long.