KENANSVILLE — James Sprunt Community College has a lot to be thankful for this year. We are grateful to have students in our classrooms. We are thankful for our new state-of-the-art nursing facility. We are grateful to have received special recognition this year for being one of only two community colleges in the state to have exceeded our enrollment goals for the fall. We were also recognized as 3rd in the state and 12th in the nation by the Best Value Schools list of Best Associate of Arts Degrees in 2021.

Nothing means more to the leadership at JSCC than our students, faculty, and staff. Faculty and staff members have been challenged to share what they are thankful for on social media throughout November. Answers have ranged from an amazing bond between co-workers to family and even stretchy pants! The leadership of JSCC was happy to treat faculty and staff to a Thanksgiving-themed luncheon this month.

Campus leadership will also be hosting a Holiday Social for JSCC retirees this holiday season. This event will take place on Dec. 15 from 2-3 p.m. in the Williams Building, Room 100. Any retiree interested in attending should RSVP by Dec. 7 to Taylor Sandlin at tsandlin@jamessprunt.edu or 910-275-6135. The Foundation looks forward to gathering with our retirees and learning more about their time here at JSCC.

In honor of our Veterans, JSCC was proud to sponsor events throughout Veterans Day week to show our gratitude to those who served our country. JSCC currently has 25 veteran students. Each was offered a gift card as a small token of our appreciation. Our Student Government Association (SGA) and Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) programs represented JSCC in the Warsaw Veterans Day Parade. SGA members also offered coffee, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and pastries to students, faculty, and staff on Veterans Day in the Strickland Student Center.

Our JSCC family would be incomplete without our students. Our Student Services Department is constantly working to provide innovative opportunities to support our students in their career and educational efforts. We had our first Spartan Advising Week during the first week of November.

Close to 400 students took advantage of the opportunity to meet with their faculty advisor and discuss their progress this semester, as well as register for spring classes. As a token of appreciation from Student Services, students who chose to register during this week were entered into a drawing to win an Amazon gift card from SGA.

Also, in support of our students, JSCC celebrated the National Career Development Week and invited students the following sessions:

Coffee and a Career: Students were provided coffee and the latest job postings from our JSCC online job board and NCWorks.

Building a Professional Resume Workshop: Students who registered to attend received a free lunch along with resume training.

National Career Development Day/ NCWorks Open House: This opportunity provided students a chance to learn about NCWorks services such as job searching, resume writing, and on-site interview practice.

Each activity was sponsored in partnership with NCWorks of Duplin County.

Student Services also treated students to a Fall Festival on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Faculty and staff were invited to celebrate alongside students for an outdoor celebration, including food trucks, a community resource fair, and food distribution. Many were in attendance, and great fun was had by all.

Our Early College High School Students have a lot to celebrate as well. Duplin Early College High School (DECHS) continued its yearly tradition of holding Fall Convocation on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Although it was held later in the year, due to transitioning back to in-person learning for all students, it was very inspirational. Graduating seniors took one of their final walks as a class in Monk Auditorium as the school celebrated their accomplishments.

Dr. Walston (James Sprunt Community College Vice President of Curriculum), Attorney Tevin Frederick (DECHS 2015 Graduate), and Mr. Dwight Holland (DECHS Teacher of the Year 2021-2022) shared their experiences as first-generation college students, along with encouraging words of role modeling, self-confidence, and perseverance to DECHS students.

DECHS seniors Esmeralda Godinez Zacarias and Anthony Gomez reflected upon their personal experiences as Mavericks in a very heartfelt manner. DECHS values Convocation, as it is a time to bring James Sprunt Community College, DECHS, and former DECHS students together to celebrate our unified commitment of emotional support, academic excellence, and belief in one another.

As we enter this Thanksgiving season, JSCC encourages you to reflect upon your blessings and give thanks. I am immensely thankful to be a part of James Sprunt Community College, and I hope you will join our family and build your future.

Dr. Jay Carraway is the James Sprunt Community College president.