Education briefs: RCCC to hold drive-thru graduation Thursday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022

SALISBURY – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will once again honor graduates with a drive-through commencement ceremony at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event is scheduled for Thursday.

The class of 2022 will, quite literally, cross the finish line on the Speedway’s track beginning at 9 a.m.

“We continue to make it our priority to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible while celebrating the remarkable achievements of our graduates,” RCCC President Carol Spalding said. “We are pleased that we have been able to welcome students back to our campuses in person and relax our COVID protocols, but when we signed the contract with the graduation venue, the COVID positivity rate was nearly 40%. We know that graduation is a large event, and we want to keep everyone safe since our counties are still reporting cases.”

Over 1,000 students who are eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony earned associate degrees, diplomas and certificates during the Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2022 academic terms, with well over 400 graduates expected to participate in the drive-through ceremony.

The event will honor students completing one of the College’s transfer degree programs and the associate in general education, as well as those eligible for specific program diplomas and certificates, and those who have completed high school equivalency or adult high school requirements.

The graduates range in age from 16 to 63 with an average age of 26, with 70% female and 30% male. Thirty-two percent of the graduates live in Rowan County, with 47% from Cabarrus County and 21% in other counties.

Students will wear their caps, gowns and honorary regalia and may have family and friends join them in their cars as they drive through to receive their diplomas. The ceremony will be projected on the Speedway’s Jumbotron video screen, which is 200 feet wide and 80 feet tall. Graduates and their guests will be able to tune their FM radio and hear the ceremony in their cars. While each graduate is limited to one car, family and friends may join in the celebration as the ceremony is streamed live at

Jasmine Rosenberry, president of the Rowan-Cabarrus Student Government Association and recipient of the statewide Daryl Mitchell Award for Outstanding Students from the North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association, will serve as student speaker.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Class of 2022 remained dedicated to their educational and career goals without wavering,” Spalding said. “I look forward to handing them their diplomas at the finish line, and I wish them the greatest success as they continue to navigate forward.”

Latino families learn more about college admissions and financial aid at Sábado de Padres event

SALISBURY – Twenty-one families from across Rowan, Cabarrus, and Anson counties gathered at Southeast Middle School in Salisbury on March 25 for a special event called Sábado de Padres.

Parents and students heard presentations in Spanish and English on the college admissions process and important information on how to apply for financial aid.

It came together through the collaboration of several local organizations and a group of college students from UNC Charlotte.

Local realtor Elia Gegorek first met UNC Charlotte student Sophia Marroquin last fall in Salisbury when they both volunteered at resource fair. The two discussed the idea of hosting an outreach event locally for Hispanic students and parents on topics related to accessing and paying for college.

Gegorek went to work assembling a team of partners to join the collaboration and invited in Jordi Roman, Rowan-Salisbury Schools Director of Parent Engagement and Community Partnerships, and Jessica Vess, Crosby Scholars Executive Director to help put on the event with the students of HCAP.

The Hispanic College Awareness Program empowers Latino and minority students to pursue higher education and foster professional growth to prepare them for life after high school and college.

Club President Sophia Marroquin and Vice President Cristian Gonzalez-Hernandez brought with them 15 members of the HCAP organization to volunteer and help lead various sessions for Sábado de Padres. The HCAP leaders also reached out to the College Foundation of North Carolina to secure a Spanish representative,  JuanEs Ramirez, to join the event and speak on the specifics of the financial aid application process.

Jordi Roman, Rowan-Salisbury Schools Director of Parent Engagement and Community Partnership shared, “This event is a testament to the spirit of Rowan County and the amazing partnerships Rowan-Salisbury Schools has with our local community agencies.”

Parents were given the opportunity to ask questions throughout the event and appreciated the information being presented in Spanish. One mother shared, “They gave us a lot of tips and information we need to know to start applying with our kids and to be ready for college.”

Latinx enrollment in two and four-year institutions declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic: 7% and 15.7% respectively.

The partners hope to host similar events each year. They also wish to thank Southeast Middle School Principal Davian Ellison, ESL Teacher Ornella Moreyra, Head Custodian John Carpenter, RSS Senior Marketing and Communications OfficerTracey Lewis, La Alcancia, Mean Mug Coffee, and Gegorek and Associates Realty LLC for all their support in making the event possible.

RCCC SGA President wins state award


SALISBURY – Jasmine Rosenberry, president of the Student Government Association at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, received the Daryl Mitchell Award for Outstanding Students at the North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association Spring Conference

Students honored with the Daryl Mitchell Award demonstrate six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Recipients also reflect exemplary leadership qualities while serving their community and local community college. Daryl Mitchell was a graduate of Durham Technical Community College, where he served as Student Senate President from 1998 to 2000.

“I am humbled and honored, and I will always be grateful for my experience at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” Rosenberry said. “I have learned lessons that extended far beyond the classroom, and my teachers and peers have become my family. Rowan-Cabarrus is a place of learning that promotes equity, inclusion and mutual respect that allows students like me to succeed beyond what they would have ever expected.”

A first-generation college student who has experienced poverty and homelessness and manages a chronic illness, Rosenberry leads the Rowan-Cabarrus student body by example, helping connect students with resources that can help them overcome barriers to success. During her tenure as SGA president, she has addressed food insecurity among students by promoting the campus food pantry, participating in community food drives, and increasing awareness through a new student-led podcast that she helped create.

Rosenberry is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree at Rowan-Cabarrus and hopes to transfer to Appalachian State University upon graduation. In addition to serving as SGA president at Rowan-Cabarrus, she is a Student Excellence Award finalist, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and participates in the College’s TRIO and Work-Based Learning programs.

“Just as Daryl Mitchell made a lasting impression on N4CSGA during his time as president, Jasmine is leaving an indelible mark on Rowan-Cabarrus as our SGA president,” RCCC President Carol Spalding said. “She is an outstanding representative of the College and most deserving of this award.”