Honoring our 2019 Graduates
A-B Tech Commencement will be Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center arena.
The college will award 1,143 degrees to graduates and we are highlighting some of them all this week leading up to graduation.
Cheyane Verran is graduating with a Culinary Arts degree. A valued member of the student (hot food) competition team, which is going to the national competition in August, she juggles a heavy workload with school and team practice, always with a positive attitude and enthusiasm. She plans to complete the Baking and Pastry Arts degree immediately upon graduation. Cheyane is a great communicator and boosts the morale of first and second year students with her ever-present smile, according to Instructor Chef Chris Bugher.
Ralph Day is an Associate of Arts student who received the CORE (Connecting Opportunities for Regional Excellence) Scholarship, which is a joint scholarship offered by A-B Tech and UNC Asheville to students who plan to transfer to UNC Asheville. Day was accepted into UNCA's Music Technology program after an audition and coaching by his A-B Tech music instructors. He is excited to graduate from A-B Tech, but will have to miss Commencement because he has a job offer to work at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. The three-day electronic music festival held in mid-May attracts 135,000 people each day.
Chandler Beiler will earn three degrees simultaneously in May with a 4.0 GPA - his Associate in Arts, Science and Engineering. He is a Jack Cooke Kent Foundation Scholarship semi-finalist and was accepted into the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program. Chandler is also a three time i3 (Ignite, Inspiration and Innovation) NSF S-STEM scholarship recipient. He received the Academic Achievement award for Engineering. He would like to transfer to N.C. State for electrical engineering specializing in audio digital signal processing in audio equipment.
Darinda Noah is our outgoing SGA president who will be graduating with a degree in Marketing and Retailing after receiving her degree in Business Administration in 2018. In her position, she served as a member of the college's Board of Trustees and was very active on campus. Darinda, 54, came to A-B Tech to seek a new career after working at Sonopress/Arvato from 1984 until its closure in 2016. She has been hired as A-B Tech's Apprenticeship Specialist where she will have numerous opportunities to help people in the community that she has been a part of her entire life. She will also continue to serve as the Children's Ministry Director for Haywood Community Church in Waynesville.
Coty Clark will be graduating with the Career Pilot Technology degree. Since beginning the program last year, he has earned his private pilot license and instrument rating. He has already successfully completed the FAA Part 141 commercial pilot ground school training and is on track to finish his flight training and earn his commercial pilot license later this summer.
Coty has the distinction of achieving the highest score to date among all Aviation program students on the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam
Madison Yearout is a high school senior at North Buncombe High school who has been dually enrolled at A-B Tech. She will graduate with an Associate in Science degree a full month before graduating from high school. She did it all on her own within the normal four years of high school as a dual enrolled student with the help of Dr. Fairley Pollock, Director of Educational Partnerships. Madison is ranked first in her graduating class at North Buncombe High School and will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall. She plans to apply to the school of Nursing in December. She is also a former Head Start child who celebrated a holiday party with our SGA when she was four-years-old.
Timothy Hooks is getting his Welding Technology degree on Saturday and has already enrolled for Automotive classes in the fall. “It was a tough road with trials and tribulations when I ended up here,” said Hooks, who is from Greensboro. “I picked the mountains because it was a fresh start.”
Hooks’ bumpy road started when he was 16. “I had run-ins with the law. I was in prison for seven years. I got my GED, Microsoft certification, and a diploma through the Pathways program in prison,” he said. When Hooks was released, he had a choice to go to community college in Greenville, Charlotte or Asheville. “I knew if I went to the urban cities, I would be back in the same situation. I chose what was a better atmosphere and a better chance to succeed,” he said.
Hooks enjoyed his classes at A-B Tech and credits instructor Doug Adams and chair Michael Keller for his success and brighter future. “It’s all about growth. It’s not about where you come from,” he said.
Alexandria (Alex) Carroll is graduating with her degree in Cosmetology. According to Department Chair Tambra Luppino, Alex is a delight to have in class. She is eager and her desire to achieve excellence is unparalleled. Among the many attributes that contributes to Alex’s success as a student are her perseverance, willingness to learn, and her positive attitude. The drive and determination that Alex demonstrates in her written work and hands-on skills, shows that success is an inevitable part of her future in the cosmetology industry.
Ryan Carlson, right, is with Emergency Services Dean Clint Gorman at the Academic Awards Ceremony. Ryan will be graduating with his degree in Criminal Justice Technology. According to Department Chair Sarah Benson, his award is well earned. I see students coming into the Criminal Justice program who express a genuine desire to make a difference in their community by choosing a career in public service," she said. "Ryan Carlson is one of those students." Ryan always strives to be excellent in his classes while balancing working as a security guard at the Biltmore Estate and as a forest firefighter with the North Carolina Forest Service.
Verinique (Vee) Hamilton is graduating with a degree in Health and Fitness Science. She came to A-B Tech straight out of high school and eager to continue her education. "I wasn’t exactly ready for a four-year college. A-B Tech seemed like the perfect fit for me to gradually continue learning and to earn a two-year degree," she said. She plans to personal train part time, continue her education in health and fitness and to start a new journey into massage therapy. "What drew me to the Health and Fitness science program was my love for exercise! Not only that, but also seeing strong beautiful women in the gym who aren’t ashamed of being just that, strong and beautiful. It lit a fire inside me to empower women through exercise."