Outstanding college students honored during All-Alabama Academic Team Recognition Program | News
MONTGOMERY – “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” said Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Interim Chancellor Susan Price, quoting Nelson Mandela, as she praised some of the state’s top students during the 2012 All-Alabama Academic Team Recognition Program in Montgomery, Thursday night.
Fifty All-Alabama students, representing 25 of Alabama’s community and technical colleges, were honored for their exceptional academic achievement, distinguished leadership, and community service before an audience of more than 350 that included their parents and families; college presidents, deans and faculty from throughout the ACCS; and other guests.
“You are receiving this award tonight not only because you kept a stellar grade point average, but also because you exhibit many other qualities of scholarship,” added Price. “You have shown that you have the intellectual curiosity to pursue academic, professional, and cultural enrichment outside the traditional classroom.”
All-Alabama Academic Team students are nominated by their respective colleges. Students selected must possess a minimum GPA of 3.25, be involved in campus activities and have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours at the institution. All have plans to further their education.
“I want you all to know that we are so proud of you,” said Price. “I also want to congratulate and thank the family, friends and educators that have helped get you this point. This is no small feat.”
Alabama State Board of Education members Mrs. Stephanie Bell representing District III and Mrs. Ella Bell, representing District V, pledged their continued support to the honorees and praised the Alabama Community College System’s administrators, faculty, staff and honorees for their commitment to excellence.
“Our graduates carry the weight of Alabama’s economic recovery,” said Ella Bell, District IV “Our graduates form the backbone of this state and keep Alabama moving in the right direction.
“We want you to continue to succeed when you leave our campuses and we want you to return and share your story with those that follow you,” stated Stephanie Bell, District III. “Your story is so important and it is just as important to encourage others.”
Billy Joe Ammons, a sophomore at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia, Ala., was named the New Century Scholar, chosen as the top student in the state based on his score for the national All-USA program. Ammons will represent Alabama this year at the opening session of the American Association of Community Colleges Convention in Orlando, FL. later this month.
“This award is a great honor and opens doors for me to universities and colleges that I never thought I would have the opportunity to attend.This brings me closer to my dream of serving those in the underserved areas,” said Ammons.
Ammons, from Red Level, has a 3.95 GPA and plans to attend the University of South Alabama to pursue a degree in Biomedical Science. His goal is to become a practicing physician to an underserved population.
“I went to a rural high school; there were only 50 people in my graduating class. I really want to be an example to my former classmates and the people coming behind me, he added. “I am trying to target those students that have a similar background to mine and have had to overcome some pretty significant challenges. I want them to persevere and be revolutionary in their endeavors,” stated Ammons.
“I want them to know that they can go to a community college and instead of stopping there they can use it as part of their academic career so that when they transfer they are a priority student and have more opportunities,” added Ammons.
Most students in Alabama begin their academic careers in a community college. Community colleges allow students to stay close to home, get a strong academic foundation in a student-focused environment with small classes, and benefit from flexible class schedules, much lower tuition rates and an articulation agreement that guarantees their coursework will transfer to any public college or university within the state. Today, about half of all freshmen and sophomores in Alabama are enrolled in one of the state’s public two-year colleges.
Several members of this year’s team were also honored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which in 2009 established the Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team Program. The program provides up to $450,000 in stipends. Five students recognized as Gold Scholars received $1,500, four students recognized as Silver Scholars received $1,250 and two Bronze Scholars received $1,000. All scholars received special medallions and will be listed in USA Today this month.
The All-Alabama Academic Team Recognition Program was founded in 1995 to complement the All-USA National Academic Team Program sponsored by USA Today, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the American Association of Community Colleges.
The Alabama Community College System is a comprehensive system of community and technical colleges, an upper-level university, a two-year military institute, and multiple workforce development entities – all dedicated to excellence in the delivery of academic and career technical education, adult education, and workforce development training and services.
Information Source: Alabama Community College System