Scholarship Spotlight: Nick Snedeker

Rob Goldberg | May 28th, 2024

Nicholas Snedeker portrait

Nicholas Snedeker, a member of Southwest High School’s Class of 2024, dreams of starting his own construction business someday and he’s banking on the education he receives at Pitt Community College to help him reach that goal.

Snedeker, a team captain in several sports and vice president of the Future Farmers of America student club at Southwest, will enroll in Pitt’s Building Construction Technology program this fall, and he has already been awarded a PCC Foundation General Scholarship to help offset the cost of his educational and living expenses.

“I am very grateful for this money and knowing that the [PCC Foundation’s] donors support me and believe in me,” he said. “… This will really help, as I am also a first-generation college student, and I have been working hard and doing the financial numbers every day to come out of college debt-free. My goal is to come out of college debt-free, learn as much as I can in my field of work, and get a good job after graduation.”

With graduation scheduled for June 13 at Southwest Onslow, Snedeker answered a few questions about himself and his decision to enroll at PCC:

1. Why did you choose PCC?

“Because it has a good carpentry program that is very hands-on and has a good relationship with ECU next door. I liked their open house and how helpful their staff were and also how hands-on the degree program was itself. It was a very good pick for me — not far from home and keeps my opportunities open and allows me to further my education if I want.”

2. What are your educational and/or career goals?

“My educational goals are to receive dual degrees at PCC in building construction and electrical trades. I then plan to participate in the Pirate Promise program and transfer to ECU for construction management. I would like to get a job in this field while attending PCC. My career goal is to own my own business after school.”

3. What influenced your area of study?

“I love construction, I always have since I was little watching “Bob the Builder” and “Handy Mandy.” I have always wanted to be in the construction industry. My favorite teacher/mentor Tommy Tucker (Southwest Onslow High) helped me see that I could have a real career in construction. He taught the carpentry classes at my high school and didn’t try to make a carpenter out of anybody; he just wanted to teach kids some skills to save money in their future. He helped me a lot after I showed sincere interest. He helped me network with other people and companies, so that I could learn more, as well as working with him after school. I enjoy working with my hands building things.”

4. What is your “super power”?

“To be able to visualize a completed project and plan out what is needed to create it.”

5. Is there a PCC faculty or staff member that has made a positive impact on your life that you would like to recognize?

“I am new to PCC. However, at the Open House in April, I met with (PCC Building Construction Instructor) Austin Bowden in the construction workshop and he really inspired me to commit to PCC. He was very knowledgeable and happy to share everything he knew and answer all of my questions.”

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Community Teams Up to Raise Money for PCC Scholarships

Rob Goldberg | May 28th, 2024

Collage of photos from the PCC Foundation's 2024 Spring Fundraising Event.

WINTERVILLE—Donors and local businesses teamed up in April to raise nearly $20,000 for Pitt Community College student scholarships through their support of the PCC Foundation’s annual spring fundraiser.

This year’s event, titled “The Future Lives Here,” took place April 27 in the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement’s Chris Smith Multipurpose Room. The program featured dinner and musical entertainment, a silent auction, and several speakers who highlighted the significance of investing in PCC students for the betterment of the local community and workforce.

“Between attendees and event sponsors, we raised more than $19,500 for PCC student scholarships and educational activities at the college,” PCC Special Events Coordinator Jennifer Hemink said. “We’re truly grateful to everyone who participated in this important event for their generosity, unwavering support of our students, and thorough understanding of the profound positive impact that scholarship donations have on our community.”

In addition to PCC President Lawrence Rouse and PCC Foundation Board Chairman Randy Collier, the evening’s speakers included PCC Trustee/Foundation Board member Gary Evans, PCC Foundation Executive Director Beth Sigmon, and PCC Student Ambassadors Alison Beaman and Amy Arriaga. Phil Dixon, a Greenville attorney who served as a trustee from 1988 to 1996 and was the board’s chair two of those years, provided a historical look at the college that included details about Robert Lee Humber, Vernon White and others instrumental to its establishment.

To Chuck Pascarelli, Pitt plays a pivotal role in developing skilled workers for Greenville’s Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., which is a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing of lift trucks and providing aftermarket parts and support. Pascarelli, who is president of the Americas Division of Hyster-Yale Group, Inc., explained the college’s importance during his remarks to donors at the fundraiser.

“Pitt Community College is really an invaluable resource to us, supplying us with top-notch talent,” he said. “So, keep it going; we appreciate it ….”

The event’s silent auction featured items donated by a host of individuals and local businesses, including Nothing Bundt Cakes, Parker’s Barbecue, Buddy & Polly Holt, Refreshology, Carolina Cooker, Brook Valley Country Club, The Hammock Source, Jenni K. Jewelry, Champions Health & Fitness, Ken Sigmon, Farmville Furniture Company, Farmville Flower Basket & Gifts, Dapper Dan’s Art & Antiques, and Pharmville Drug.

Hemink said more than a dozen local businesses and individuals stepped up to sponsor this year’s spring event at varying levels. They were as follows:

  • Premium Sponsors ($2,500): Grady-White Boats, Institutional Interiors, Ward and Smith, P.A., and Pitt Community College
  • Table Sponsors ($1,250): Alliance One/Pyxus, Greenville ENC Alliance, Mosquito Authority, TowneBank, and John & Sarah Minges
  • Friends of PCC Sponsors ($500): Smith Funeral Service & Crematory, Randy and Dwight Collier, Igoe Creative, Carolina Hardscapes and Pools, and Barnhill Contracting.

“We had some wonderful sponsors, many who support PCC and its students year after year, and we are so thankful for their continued contributions,” Hemink said. “It was an exceptional evening highlighted by powerful stories and words of inspiration by our guest speakers, as the community came together to celebrate and champion the achievements and aspirations of PCC students.”

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PCC Alum Excelling in the Classroom and in Service to the Foundation

Rob Goldberg | April 1st, 2024

Ryan Spruill graphic

WINTERVILLE—Prior to the start of the 2023-24 academic year, the Pitt Community College Alumni Association honored several graduates during Convocation for outstanding professional success and service to the college and community.

One of the individuals honored was Ryan Spruill, who received an Employee Alumni Award for his work with the college’s polysomnography program and support for the PCC Foundation. A 2021 PCC Teaching Excellence Award recipient, Spruill has assisted with the PCC Foundation’s Employee Fund Drive each year since 2019 and is one of the organization’s annual “Fair Share” givers.

PCC Respiratory Therapy Program Director Rusty Sugg nominated Spruill for his Employee Alumni Award, calling him “a delight to work with” and noting his professional attitude, excellent communication skills and devotion to higher education.

“(Ryan) is a student advocate and devotes a great deal of time making sure program goals and objectives are met,” Sugg said.

The PCC Foundation recently interviewed Spruill to find out more about him personally and professionally. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Where were you born and raised?

A: I was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C. I attended a small private school in Gastonia, N.C., before moving to Greenville in 1996 to attend ECU.

Q: Tell us about your experience at PCC and a little about your educational background …

A: I enrolled at PCC in the fall of 2009 after being laid off from my job after seven years. Returning to the classroom after 10 years was a drastic change, but instructors like Jayson Arno in BIO-163 made my transition back at the age of 35 much more manageable. Not only did they help me find the educational success that I lacked at ECU, but they also instilled a passion for educating others.

Q: What is your position at Pitt Community College and how long have you been here?

A: I am the program director for Polysomnography (Sleep Technology) at PCC. Sleep technology was not something I was even aware of when I first came to PCC, but I found it in HSC-110, led by another mentor, Don King. Sleep technology was my second choice for Respiratory Therapy. However, it was the best consolation prize I could ever imagine. This August will be the start of my eighth year at PCC.

Q: Tell us a little about your family …

A: My parents started work right out of high school, which made me a first-generation student. They worked hard to send me to ECU, which, unfortunately, I was too immature to take advantage of at the time.

I followed my wife Crystal, who graduated from the Respiratory Therapy program at PCC, and I am forever thankful for her push to give education another try. Since graduating from PCC in 2012, we have matched each other with BS degrees in 2016 and MHA degrees in 2023.

My oldest son, Caleb, will be our first PCC graduate this year. He will graduate from the Pitt County Schools Early College High School with his high school diploma and an associate degree in science.

My youngest son, Landon, is a freshman at South Central High School and is already looking forward to dual enrollment at PCC to speed up his goals in computer technology.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

A: When I am not on campus, you can find me at ECU sporting events, in the kitchen cooking too much of something, or in the garage brewing homebrewed beer.

Q: What is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you but would find interesting?

A: I am a sucker for dad jokes and little-known informational tidbits. I love the history shows of North Carolina on PBS to learn new facts to share with everyone, whether they want to know it or not. Did you know that without the Minges family in Kinston, N.C., we would live in a world without Mountain Dew?

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and why?

A: I refer back to Jayson Arno, who taught me to “learn” the information and not “memorize” it. Something so little made such a change in my life, both professionally and educationally. If you learn something, you understand the information well enough to explain it differently, so anyone can understand it. If you memorize it, you can only repeat what you may or may not understand.

Q: What do you love most about working at the college?

A: The people, whether employees or students, they all make the difference. Every employee is eager to do whatever it takes to make a difference in a student’s life, just like mine.

Q: What did receiving the Employee Alumni Award from PCC last summer mean to you?

A: The Employee Alumni Award was a fantastic experience. Being awarded for doing what I love every day, helping students meet their goals and expectations, is an honor.

Q: Why do you support the PCC Foundation’s Employee Fund Drive?

A: Students. Our students are why we have jobs, and helping them meet their goals is why I support the PCC Foundation.

I have students who drive almost two hours one way to attend class. While we do what we can to utilize technology to limit their drive, some students need help with gas. Others have food insecurities, while others have issues paying for classes not covered by student funding.

The PCC Foundation is always there to lend a helping hand and ensure all PCC students have the tools needed to succeed and give back to Pitt County.

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Bunch Scholarship Helping Student Pursue Lifelong Passion

Rob Goldberg | April 1st, 2024

Amanda ScanlanFor as long as she can remember, Amanda Scanlan has had a passion for music and performing. But in 2016, she took a break from her true love and didn’t return until seven years later.

“Unfortunately, I took a very long break from singing and knew it was time to pick things back up [in 2023],” she recalls. “Since resuming my pursuit of music, I have decided musical theater is my true passion, and I am so lucky that I get to do it every day.”

Because she was familiar with Pitt Community College instructor Michael Stephenson and his work with the college’s Music Department, Scanlon enrolled at PCC. She is now well on her way toward earning an Associate in Fine Arts, with plans to continue her education at East Carolina University when she completes her studies at Pitt.

“I chose PCC because I knew I could flourish as a musician here,” she says. “… Since enrolling here, I have found I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Though she works as a waitress to pay the bills, Scanlan says her pursuit of music education has been made easier through the Dr. Austin and Dr. Wanda Bunch Memorial Scholarship she received from the PCC Foundation.

Created by Adam Bunch in December 2021 to honor the memory of his parents, the Bunch Scholarship provides financial support to students involved with PCC’s music program who have GPAs of 3.0 or higher. Scanlan says she is “absolutely grateful” to have been awarded the $250-scholarship this spring and has used the funds to offset the cost of her tuition, fees and book expenses.

“This scholarship is validation for me that God has a plan,” she says. “I know I will continue to receive blessings as long as I keep my intentions and heart pure. All the support I have received at Pitt Community College has meant the world to me. I know I would not be here without it.”

When she is not in class or earning tips at the restaurant, Scanlan says she can be found performing with community theater, church music ministries or the Greenville Choral Society. She says it’s part of her goal of having a “successful performance prior to a teaching career.” More than that, though, she says it’s about entertaining her all-time greatest fan.

“My father passed away in 2020,” Scanlan said. “One of the last things he said to me was that he had always hoped I would get back on stage. My hope is that somewhere, somehow he is in the audience of all my concerts and shows. No matter how big or small the stage, I know he would be proud of me.”

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Spring Scholarship Fundraiser Set for April 27

Rob Goldberg | March 31st, 2024

Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Foundation’s annual spring scholarship fundraiser will take place April 27 in the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement’s Chris Smith Multipurpose Room.

The program, titled “The Future Lives Here,” runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person ($70 is tax deductible) and may be purchased through the PCC website. Event proceeds go toward student scholarships and various educational activities at the college throughout the academic year.

“The spring event is our second-largest fundraiser each year, behind only the Down East Holiday Show, so its success is important to the foundation’s mission of supporting Pitt Community College and its students,” PCC Events Coordinator Jennifer Vogt said. “In any given semester, more than 65 percent of Pitt students are receiving at least some form of financial assistance. We want them to earn the credentials they’re seeking at PCC before entering the local workforce, and scholarships go a long way toward ensuring that happens.”

Vogt says this month’s fundraiser will feature The Wandering Tavern, an eastern North Carolina-based mobile boutique bar, serving cocktails prior to dinner, which will be catered by Carryout by Chrislyn. She said an in-person silent auction will run throughout the evening.

“We’ll have a diverse selection of wonderful items up for bidding,” Vogt said. “Some of the items local businesses have already donated for the auction include a discada and burner stand from Carolina Cooker, a year-long coupon book from Nothing Bundt Cakes that includes a free item each month for a year, a spa gift certificate, and a getaway to a Beaufort County river house.

Vogt says various levels of event sponsorship are still available. Current sponsors are as follows:

  • Premium Sponsors ($2,500): Grady-White Boats, Institutional Interiors, Ward and Smith, P.A., and Pitt Community College
  • Table Sponsors ($1,250): Alliance One/Pyxus, Greenville ENC Alliance, Mosquito Authority, and TowneBank
  • Friends of PCC Sponsors ($500): Smith Funeral Service & Crematory and Randy and Dwight Collier

For more information on “The Future Lives Here,” email Vogt at jhvogt453@my.pittcc.edu, or call (252) 493-7496.

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Foundation Powered, in Part, by Greenville Utilities

Rob Goldberg | March 31st, 2024

Tony Cannon portrait

WINTERVILLE—Greenville Utilities Commission (GUC) has been an integral part of Greenville and Pitt County since 1905, but its support for the community extends well beyond providing electric water, sewer and natural gas services.

One cause that is important to GUC is education, and the students of Pitt Community College can be thankful for that. GUC has been a reliable supporter of the PCC Foundation over the years, because, as GUC General Manager/Chief Executive Officer Tony Cannon explains, the company supports the growth of its employees, as well as the economic development of the community.

Cannon, who has overseen GUC operations since 2012 and has more than 35 years of experience working in public utilities, recently answered some questions for the PCC Foundation. Along with discussing the importance of Pitt and education, in general, he explained why he feels it is important for GUC to support them in the interview that follows:

Q: Why is it important for GUC to support the PCC and its students?

A: There are many reasons why GUC supports Pitt Community College, starting with the fact that PCC offers solid education and career training at an affordable cost.

I also think it’s important to remember that not everybody needs or wants a four-year or graduate degree, and yet there are skills that are no longer taught in primary and secondary schools that students need in order to build a career of their choosing. PCC is an excellent choice with fantastic programs and an outstanding reputation across the state.

From a GUC perspective, we promote and encourage the continued growth of our employees, and many of them rely on the education that PCC provides before and during their employment with us.

We support the entire education system here in Pitt County (including PCC) because we rely on local education partnerships to create a population that can meet the needs not only of GUC, but the business community as a whole. PCC does an excellent job working with local industries to help fill skills gaps that exist, so employers don’t need to look outside of our community.

That includes businesses and industries looking to locate here. Without our solid educational support system, it would be a lot more difficult to keep existing employers (and recruit new employers) to this area.

Q: In your words, what is the value of higher education?

A: If you think about higher education in a different way, it’s not just getting a degree – it’s acquiring knowledge and skill sets that can help you build a successful career. That can be certifications, 2-year degrees, 4-year degrees, and skills-based training to learn a trade. With the world evolving and technology advancing at a fast pace, it’s important to have the education you need to be able to keep up and compete. Higher education helps you do that.

It’s also important to remember that not every job needs a 4-year degree – there are many positions within our organization that require certain skill certifications or an Associate’s Degree. Those are gained through higher education as well.

Q: What is the value of Pitt Community College to Pitt County and the region?

A: This goes back to why it’s important for GUC to support PCC.

I was drawn to Pitt County from South Carolina almost 20 years ago because I saw the potential for this area’s economic development, and PCC plays a big role in that. The leaders at PCC work together with industries and economic development groups to ensure that we have a workforce trained and prepared to meet the needs of employers in our area.

When industries research locating here, they want to know about our skilled workforce. Having a resource like PCC tailor its training to the specific needs of industries is invaluable – not in bringing new employers to town, but also to help current businesses stay here and grow.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: As a public utility provider, one of the most critical parts of GUC’s mission is to reinvest in infrastructure that allows for economic development and job growth – and a big part of that includes building solid partnerships with local institutions like Pitt Community College whose missions align with ours.

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Donors Establish New Scholarship Opportunities to Close out 2023

Rob Goldberg | February 1st, 2024

A smiling Herman Simon talks with PCC administrators in the Davenport Multipurpose Room.

WINTERVILLE—As 2023 drew to a close, Pitt Community College Foundation donors stepped up their support for the charitable organization in a big way by establishing a number of new scholarship opportunities for PCC students.

In November alone, four new awards were established. They were:

  • The Brandt Thomas Allen Memorial Endowed Scholarship by Walter Perkins III and The Hammock Source for a PCC baseball player with a GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • The Michelle Brathwaite Nursing Scholarship by Angela Davis for an Associate Degree Nursing student;
  • The Hunter Lancaster Memorial Endowed Scholarship by Louann Lancaster for an automotive student; and
  • The Steve & Susan Jarrell Endowed Scholarship by Steve and Susan Jarrell for a student enrolled in a Construction and Industrial Technology Division program.

Shortly after the new year began, Mary Langston created the Tommy Langston Jr. Endowed Scholarship. It will be awarded to students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher.

Sandwiched in between those new awards was the Herman Simon Endowed Accounting Scholarship. In December, friends of the dedicated PCC supporter established the scholarship to honor his lifelong commitment to education and training young people to become productive citizens. Starting with the 2024-25 academic year, the new Herman Simon Endowed Accounting Scholarship will be awarded annually to a second-year PCC accounting student with a 3.0 GPA or higher. The recipient must have also demonstrated an ongoing commitment to community service.

Simon, a New Jersey native, grew up during the Great Depression Era and worked his way through New York University. He became a Certified Public Accountant and has served many years as a financial consultant with Greenville’s Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation.

Along with Grady-White Boats owner Eddie Smith, Simon played an integral role in the creation of Pitt’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program in 2004. The two men pictured VISIONS as a way to help Pitt County teens complete high school diplomas and transition into PCC curricula through special mentoring and academic and career advising throughout their senior year of high school.

Through his role with the Smith Family Foundation, Simon has been a true supporter, encourager and friend of PCC. For many years, he’s worked diligently—and without fanfare—to allocate financial resources to PCC programs and students. In 2007, PCC administrators honored Simon with a Distinguished Service Award during graduation – the same night Matt Brown became the first VISIONS student to receive an associate degree from Pitt.

One year later, PCC broke ground on the Herman Simon Building, a 35,765-square-foot-addition to the college’s health sciences training facility. The $5 million-structure opened to students in 2010.

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Meet Ms. Harvey Wooten: PCC Foundation Donor & #1 Holiday Show Fan

Rob Goldberg | January 31st, 2024

In 2019, Ms. Harvey Wooten, right, operated a vendor booth with her friend, Christine, during the Holiday Show to sell art Wooten created from vintage and unique jewelry.

Each fall, as she flips her calendar to November, Harvey Wooten sees the four dates she circled nearly a year prior and smiles, knowing the time has come for another PCC Foundation Down East Holiday Show.

As someone who loves Christmas and shopping, it’s easy to understand why the Holiday Show is her favorite shopping excursion each year. In fact, she loves the event so much that she sponsors its Thursday opener, an adult-only night of shopping that she suggested more than a decade ago.

An eastern North Carolina native who’s lived in Greenville since 1979, Wooten views the Holiday Show as a win-win-win situation: she gets to shop, someone receives a nice Christmas present from her that she purchased during the show, and the PCC Foundation receives money for student scholarships.

Wooten’s support for education and her community also includes an endowed scholarship with the PCC Foundation for students studying Fine Arts, another one of her passions.

In this month’s edition of “Foundation for Success,” we caught up with Ms. Wooten to learn more about her and her support of higher education and the PCC Foundation …

Q. Where we you born and raised?

Wooten: “I was born and raised in Kinston, N.C., and graduated from Grainger High School in 1964. I am so proud to call Kinston my hometown!”

Q. Tell us a little about your educational background …

Wooten: “I attended East Carolina University in the 1980s, taking many psychology, French and nutrition classes.

The one class at PCC that I enrolled in was a computer class, in hopes of learning how to use a computer. I was lost!

On the third day, I learned that the class was a programming class. No wonder I was lost!”

Q. Tell us a little about your family …

Wooten: “My family business, L. Harvey & Son in Kinston, N.C., has been in business since 1871. It is the longest family-owned business in North Carolina.

I have two sons – Bob, 58 (Donna), and Bryan, 54 (LuAnn) – and four grandchildren: Max (25), Elizabeth (23), Parker (23) and Peyton (20). They call me ‘GaGa!’”

Q. What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Wooten: “My favorite hobbies are reading, gardening, collecting art and craft projects. In 2019, my friend, Christine, and I had a booth in the Down East Holiday Show selling pieces of art that I created from vintage and unique jewelry. What fun!”

Q. What is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you but would find interesting?

Wooten: “I can’t make soup. I can’t play ‘Uno.’ But I make a mean corn pudding!”

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and why?

Wooten: “My mother gave me one of the best pieces of advice: ‘just be yourself.’ This piece of advice works in every aspect of life.”

Q. In your words, what is the value of higher education?

Wooten: “Higher education opens doors in life. And what better way to start than at PCC.”

Q. In your words, what is the value of Pitt Community College to Pitt County and the region?

Wooten: “PCC gives students from any walk of life the opportunity to receive an affordable education, no matter in what field of study.”

Q. How long have you been contributing to the PCC Foundation, and why is it important to you to support the organization?

Wooten: “Ever since the very first Down East Holiday Show, I tried to be the very first person in the door – and many times I was!

I was so proud when they asked me to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the show. My interest in the show led to a suggestion of an ‘Adults-Only Thursday’ shopping event. I currently sponsor that event, and it has proven to be quite a success.

Due to my love of art and artists, it seemed appropriate to endow a Fine Arts Scholarship at PCC. This has been very gratifying to me.”

Q. If someone you know was thinking about supporting the PCC Foundation, what would you say to encourage him or her?

Wooten: “Find an area of interest to you and support it however you can.”

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Paralegal Tech Grad a Testament to the Power of Higher Education

Rob Goldberg | January 31st, 2024

During PCC's 2024 Convocation, the college's Alumni Association presented a Distinguished Alumni Award to 2004 Pitt graduate Shannon Jarvis (center). On hand to congratulate her were PCC Paralegal Technology faculty members Christopher Young and Vicki Coleman.

In an age where motor vehicles, airplanes, bicycles and even roller skates are easily accessible, it’s hard to imagine anyone actually choosing to run a 100-mile race, but that’s precisely what Shannon Jarvis is planning to do later this year.

An assistant district attorney with North Carolina’s Judicial District 2 District Attorneys’ Office, Jarvis is also an avid runner. She logs dozens of early morning miles each week with her friends and often supports her favorite charities by participating in their races.

“Running is a stress relief for me and definitely doubles as hanging out with my friends,” she says. “I always love a challenge, and I love to exercise, so running is a great way to burn off steam and achieve my other goal, which is to eat a lot.”

Within the past couple of years, Jarvis has reached several running milestones. In September 2022, she finished a solo 100K race within a 24-hour period, and last spring, she completed the Blackbeard’s Revenge 100-mile relay with a pair of her running friends, personally logging 41 of those miles.

And even though 100 miles is an extreme distance for any runner to complete alone, it makes sense Jarvis has set out to accomplish the feat, considering the hurdles she’s overcome already.

Born and raised in the historic Beaufort County town of Bath, Jarvis now lives in Washington with her with her husband, Barrett, and their three children.

For Jarvis, the journey from Blackbeard’s former stomping grounds to the place Cecil B. DeMille once called home was routed through Winterville, Greenville and Jacksonville, Fla. It was a long road with plenty of potential pitfalls, and it began with what she says is the best advice she’s ever been given – “always pursue higher education.”

“Education is one thing no one can take away from you …,” she says. “This advice was monumental for me, as I grew up relatively poor. I felt that becoming an attorney was out of reach for me in many ways, most importantly, financially. But I started at Pitt Community College and kept going, and I have achieved all my educational goals. And, most importantly, I am also student loan-free.”

Jarvis recognized the life-changing power of education at 16 years old, when it offered her way out of a life plagued by domestic violence created by parents who abused substances. A few years later, when she set out to become a lawyer, education helped her overcome the odds.

“From someone who grew up relatively poor and under not ideal circumstances, higher education provided me a path of deliverance from the life I grew up in,” Jarvis says. “I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I have now changed the entire trajectory of my children’s lives and their future families as well.”

Jarvis graduated from PCC’s Paralegal Technology program with honors in 2004. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in law and society from East Carolina University and a juris doctor with pro bono honors from Florida Coastal School of Law.

“I came to Pitt originally because I wanted to be a lawyer, and the paralegal program felt more in my reach, since I came from a family that had meager means,” Jarvis said. “In the paralegal program, I fell more in love with the law and decided I would continue my education.”

Jarvis would go one to pass the North Carolina Bar and became licensed to practice law in 2009. She’s been prosecuting criminal cases in district and superior court as an assistant district attorney since 2018 and, in 2023, became a Board-Certified Specialist in State Criminal Law.

“… I think I was built for being a lawyer,” Jarvis says. “I’ve never been shy of confrontation, standing for what is right, or doing the best job I can do.”

In addition to her job as assistant district attorney, Jarvis has taught at several colleges, including PCC, and served more than a decade on Pitt’s Paralegal Technology Advisory Board. She regularly promotes PCC’s paralegal program, participates in its activities, and enjoys talking with young people about how the legal system works while encouraging them to pursue legal careers.

“As a graduate of (PCC’s) program, an advisory board member and an attorney, I think I am highly qualified to vouch for the program,” she says. “… I encourage (students) to look into the paralegal program for (their) educational journey, as not only are paralegals in high demand, but the pay for such jobs is higher as well.”

During Convocation in August, the PCC Alumni Association presented Jarvis with a Distinguished Alumni Award – the college’s most prestigious honor – in recognition of outstanding and uncommon achievement in her profession and service to the community and PCC. She says she was surprised to have been nominated for the award and “even more surprised” to receive it.

“Most of us do not look at our achievements as laudable or worthy of praise in this regard,” she says. “But looking back at it, I think this was a great way for me to realize that I have accomplished some great things in my life and have set a great example for others similarly situated as myself to continue to progress to their goals.”

Jarvis says it’s important for people to have mentors and role models and that she enjoys being able to share her story with others as a means of encouragement.

“I definitely come from a very different place than most people in my profession,” Jarvis says. “I think that gives me a unique perspective on how students from different backgrounds struggle and face hardships. I’ve never tried to hide that side of me, as I think it is important in how I developed into who I am today.”

And if Shakespeare was right when he said, “what’s past is prologue,” then Jarvis only needs to look at how far she’s come personally and professionally to find all the motivation she needs to complete her first solo 100-mile run.

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PCC Grad Exemplified ‘Service Before Self’

Rob Goldberg | October 3rd, 2023

Awards, badges and patches from Ken Thompson's 30-year law enforcement career.

Before his longtime battle with diabetes ended at age 63, Ken Thompson lived a life of service to others as a law enforcement officer. And though he’s been gone seven years, he continues to care for the community he first swore to protect and serve back in 1973.

This fall, thanks to a $147,382.54-planned gift Thompson’s estate made to the Pitt Community College Foundation in April, five PCC students were awarded funding to help them pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies during the 2023-24 academic year. The students — Basic Law Enforcement Training’s Ian Radcliff and Criminal Justice Technology’s Paulisha Dekeyser, Anthony Phillips, KenShawn Siebert Jr. and Catherine Smith — represent the very first recipients of the Kenneth Thompson Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Endowed Scholarship.

“Those who knew and worked with Ken Thompson recall his friendship, work ethic and commitment to his profession,” PCC Scholarships Coordinator Kim Simpkins said. “They say he was someone to look up to and remember his infectious laugh. By creating an endowed scholarship with the PCC Foundation, generations of PCC students will remember Officer Thompson as the man who helped them achieve their academic goals.”

Born in Wilmington, Thompson graduated from J.H. Rose High School before starting his law enforcement career at age 21. He earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice Technology from PCC as a member of the Greenville Police Department, where he rose to the rank of sergeant before retiring with 30 years of service.

“The PCC Foundation is tremendously grateful for Sgt. Ken Thompson’s 30 years of service as a police officer and his love for our community,” PCC Foundation Executive Director Beth Sigmon said. “By establishing an endowed scholarship at PCC, he has ensured our community will have skilled law enforcement personnel protecting it for years to come.”

While a majority of Thompson’s PCC Foundation gift went toward the endowed scholarship that will support as many as 10 students annually in perpetuity, $20,000 was used to name the lobby of PCC’s Law Enforcement training facility for Thompson. Those funds were directed to the PCC Foundation’s “15 in Five Endowment Campaign,” which is generating revenue for PCC general scholarships.

To be eligible for the Thompson Scholarship, students must be enrolled full- or part-time in either Pitt’s criminal justice curriculum or BLET program. They must have and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and financial need is also taken into consideration by the PCC Foundation Scholarship Committee that determines award recipients.

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