Reeves Chosen for 2021 Academic Excellence Award

HUDSON, NC (April 20, 2021) — Stephanie Reeves never saw herself as a college student. But the stay-at-home mom wanted to find a job when her son started school and while driving by the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute campus in Hudson one day, decided to explore her options.

Her first day on campus, it seemed so big, and she was very nervous. She’s come a long way since that first day.

“Now I know campus like the back of my hand,” Reeves said. “The campus has become a good friend. I feel so comfortable here. I tell everyone how much this place has changed my life.”

2021 Academic Excellence Award winner Stephanie Reeves, of Hudson, poses for a photo on the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute campus in Hudson.

Reeves was honored Tuesday at the CCC&TI Board of Trustees meeting as the 2021 Academic Excellence Award winner. CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch presented her with a medal, an award plaque and a letter of congratulations from N.C. Community Colleges System President Thomas Stith III. She is one of 58 students statewide to receive the annual award, one from each of the state’s community colleges.

Two years after her first time on campus, she’s ready to graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Office Administration. She’ll be a first-generation college graduate.

For anyone who doubts that college is an option for them, Reeves will be the first to tell them they can do it. And she has plenty of advice on how best to succeed.

“Get to know your instructors, the people in the library, the Writing Center, the Academic Support Center,” Reeves said. “It’s absolutely doable for anybody, in any season in their life. It’s possible because the people here make it possible. Nobody is going to be turned away for who they are or where they are in life. Everybody here will help you get there.

She was nominated and chosen for the award by CCC&TI faculty and staff. Listed among the reasons for her award nomination were her positive and determined attitude, as well as her level of engagement on campus.

Reeves has been active with TRIO/Student Support Services since her first semester. She also volunteered for the annual Creepy Caldwell event in 2019 and served as a CCC&TI Ambassador, where she helped at college orientation events, J.E. Broyhill Civic Center events, and Grab-n-Go information sessions for students. She also helped tutor her fellow students, worked in the TRIO office and helped raise money to purchase Christmas gifts for TRIO Angels.

Away from campus, Reeves volunteers with Loaves and Fishes and Big House Ministries as a Community Care Member, providing monthly food and support to foster families. She also has volunteered at the School for Young Children in Lenoir and at The Closet in Hudson.

In 2020, she worked in the Human Resources office at Blue Ridge Energy as part of the Work-Based Learning requirement for her degree, but her time there was cut short due to the pandemic. But she was there long enough to know she loved it and she plans to continue her education to pursue a human resources career. Next year, she will attend Appalachian State University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Workforce Leadership and Development.

Reeves lives in Hudson with her husband and 5-year-old son. She hopes her son watching her work so hard toward her college degree demonstrates the value of education and that anything is possible.

“My son sees me working toward something and I hope that it gives him an understanding that there’s no limit on what he can do,” Reeves said.