One theme running throughout the Creating Successful Learners Awards Program Thursday at the L. H. Jones Auditorium was that its participants were probably among the few examples of students who couldn’t wait to go to summer school.
In fact, two summer school sessions have been scheduled with the first session being held May 28 through June 26 and the second session set for July 8 through Aug. 13.
The program is a collaborative vocational training program between Surry Community College, Mount Airy City Schools, Polly Long’s Surry County eLink program for students with learning disabilities. Students are taught literacy, functional math, computer and vocational skills, science and life skills.
“We are here tonight to celebrate the many successes of our students through this partnership which is the Successful Learner’s program,” said eLink Director Long as she welcomed an auditorium almost filled with parents and families of students as well as school and county officials and teachers.
Long talked about how one student, Robert Greene III, was her inspiration for the program. She recounted to the audience how Greene’s goal of attending college inspired her and associate Ginny Stammetti to literally sketch out their idea for the program on a napkin.The program was conceived as a bridge between adults who had aged out of exceptional learning programs and getting a job.
“That student’s desire is a reality,” added Long. “Teachers have been amazed with the level of learning in our classes. Our students even want to come to class on snow days. I believe what we have created is one of the happiest places in Mount Airy. Visit us any day that you’re down and you’ll be greeted by hugs and smiles and kind words. The teachers here have made this their passion. You already know this. Look at the turnout here tonight. We are here together to celebrate the end of another school year of learning.”
Instructor Laurie Culler began the student recognition portion of the program by telling the participants there was no one like them and that the staff felt “so blessed” to work with them every day. Greene was next presented with his student graduation diploma.
Long explained that Green had to learn to read, use a computer and do mathematics as part of the learner’s program with the goal being employment. She said he was concentrating on learning the skills for furniture assembly and was in an apprenticeship program at Jay’s Office Supply. Green thanked the teachers for their support and for giving him a chance to achieve his goal.
Adam Griffith was named the program’s Student of the Year and received the Aaron Dowdy Memorial Award. Dowdy was a 19-year-old student in the Compensatory Education program. More than six months ago he collapsed in the Mount Airy High School Gym and was later pronounced dead. Dowdy, a graduate of Mount Airy High School, was a student in the Surry Community College Comp-Ed program.
“This year we lost a wonderful person, Aaron Dowdy,” said Culler. “Aaron lived an amazing life even though it was rather short. He was loved and did so many things while on earth I’m sure he’s doing so much more in heaven. We all look forward to seeing him again.” She told the audience she remembered his thick glasses and “squenched” up smile.
Bob Planer was named volunteer of the year and Dennis Stone was named the community support person of the year. Planer and the Mount Airy Kiwanis Club organized the Aktion Club which allows CSL students to help non-profit agencies in Surry County with community service projects.
She said Stone, who has more than 35 years experience with the Little Debbie Snacks, had kept the school’s snack cupboard supplied for three years and always had a smile for students and staff. She said the program had grown and thrived through community efforts and efforts of individuals like Stone.
Instructors recognized included Diane Barnett, Angie Lievsay, Lisa Dodd, Legh Beal, Laurie Culler, Volunteer Councilor “Pastor Pat” McCormick and Assistant Weldon Taylor. Barnett told the group that the program usually has an enrollment ranging from 35-40 students per semester with an average of 18,000 student hours monthly.
SCC Vice President Corporate & Continuing Education Dr. George Sappenfield also spoke to the students and parents.
“We are so proud to have this (program) as part of Surry Community College,” said Sappenfield. “We strive to be unique and pro-active. This is a unique program known across the state and country for its accomplishments. The instructors here are tremendous.”
In closing, Long thanked the 21st Century Grant Group for its support of the banquet and other school groups such as the prom committee and individuals who had helped make the banquet and ceremony possible. Instructor Legh Beal and CSL Student Suzanne Stewart sang a duet to close the ceremony.
Students who received certificates for participation in the Creating Successful Learners Program are Steven Anderson, Amy Arnold, Donald Branson, Michelle Clifton, Jason Creed, Eden Draughn, Gregory Galyean, Robert John Greene III, Adam Griffith, Jeffery Griffith, Ryan Hardee and John Heathcoat.
CSL students also receiving certificates are Sidney Hethcoat, Ben Jackson, Jade Johnson, Jill Kelley, Betty Lawson, Timmy Lunsford, Ryan Matthews, Levi Mayes, Marco Martinez, Dale Mitchell, Amanda Myers, DeAnna Money, Brittany Parsons, Samantha Petty, Travis Powell, Patricia Roundy, Alex Rocha, Timothy Sawyers, Suzanne Stewart, Zachary Towe, Jessica Wall and Shoua Yang.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.