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From here, student speaker planning to aim high for next stop, Virginia Wesleyan

Charleston Yancey fell in love with Virginia Wesleyan University the first time he toured the campus. After graduating from Tidewater Community College on May 13, he will transfer there with junior class standing thanks to a new agreement.

Yancey, student speaker for TCC’s 68th Commencement at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, leaves with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. The Norfolk native will be able to concentrate on coursework for his major, as all his general education requirements from TCC transfer due to the Fair Transfer Guarantee Agreement, signed in February.

Charleston Yancey at Virginia Wesleyan
Charleston Yancey at Virginia Wesleyan University.

“TCC is a transformative school,” he said. “I met so many people who come here and don’t know where to go. They leave here and become driving forces in the community.”

Yancey, who holds a 3.9 GPA and served in multiple leadership positions for the Norfolk Student Government Association, said he feels well prepared for what’s ahead. The 20-year-old benefitted from the Open Door Project, which provides support services for first generation college students.

“The staff there kept me motivated,” said Yancey, admittedly passionate about all things TCC. “From the teachers who work in the building to everyone at Open Door to the people involved in student life, it’s a beautiful thing.”

The skills he learned in his student development class, which focuses on creating good study habits, laid the foundation for an accolade-filled academic year.

Nominated to the 2019 Phi Theta Kappa All-Virginia Academic Team, Yancey finished in the top 10 for the state, earning him a $500 scholarship. He was also awarded the Barnes and Noble Textbook Scholarship for Norfolk Campus.

Yancey has never been shy talking in front of others. His father, Charles, is pastor at Love of Life Assembly Yahawah’s Temple of Praise, and Charleston has spoken from the pulpet since he was 10. He developed an even deeper love of public speaking at TCC under Professor Jaclyn Randle.

“She’s the greatest teacher I ever had,” he said.

Yancey also credits communications professor Mark Frederick with helping him develop different techniques to engage an audience.

From here, he plans to pursue a doctorate in psychology and work as a counselor and motivational speaker while remaining active in ministry.

“I have dedicated my life to being one who uplifts and inspires others,” he said.  “I have vowed to use my mouth as a tool that will speak life into all those that feel lifeless. My message has been and will always be that you are worth the success that you are fighting for. I may not know each graduate personally, but I do know that everyone has a story. I want to remind them that no matter how their story began, it is the conclusion of their story that matters the most.”

Nine from TCC earn recognition from All-Virginia Academic Team

Nine Tidewater Community College students have been nominated to the Phi Theta Kappa 2019 All-Virginia Academic Team.

They are Dakota Bernacki and Katelyn Solis from the Chesapeake Campus; Charleston Yancey and Jeffrey White from the Norfolk Campus; Cynthia Law and Jordan Caravas from the Portsmouth Campus; and Alethea Lim, Christopher Metzger and Jason Yarbrough from the Virginia Beach Campus.

They will represent the college this spring when Virginia’s Community Colleges will recognize them and other team members from across the state at an awards luncheon in Richmond. From that group of community college students, 10 will be eligible for national awards.

Dakota BernackiDakota Bernacki

 Homeschooled through high school, the Windsor resident graduated from TCC in December 2018 with an Associate of Science in Engineering and a 4.0 GPA. Bernacki worked at his small “geek squad” business while earning his degree. “My professors were phenomenal,” he said. “It wasn’t easy — it’s engineering — but it was definitely worth it. Starting at TCC was the right choice for me.” Bernacki will work toward his bachelor’s in computer engineering from Old Dominion University or Virginia Commonwealth University this fall.

Jordan CaravasJordan Caravas

The Smithfield High School graduate is earning her Associate of Science in Science. She holds a 3.8 GPA and plans to transfer to Christopher Newport University to work toward her bachelor’s in organismal biology when she graduates in May. “I really like it here,” she said of TCC. “They have everything I need here; classes have been great.”

Cynthia LawCynthia Law

The first generation college student will graduate with her Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice in May and will remain at TCC to complete her Associate of Science in Social Sciences. Law initially wanted a career in forensics, but her work-study job at TCC opened her eyes to something that interested her more. “I really want to do something hands-on with people, and I love children,” said Law, who holds a 3.89 GPA and plans to transfer to Old Dominion.

Alethea LimAlethea Lim

The Landstown High School graduate will finish with an Associate of Science in Science and an Associate of Science in Social Sciences. The student ambassador on the Virginia Beach Campus holds a 4.0 GPA and plans to transfer to Old Dominion this fall and major in biology. “TCC offered me a full scholarship paying for my tuition,” she said. “The college has given me more opportunities to learn while giving back to my community. I really enjoy how personal the professors can be and how understanding they are.”

Christopher Metzger

The Richmond resident will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Management. Metzger chose the TCC program because it is accredited by the licensing body for health information management. “I’m looking to do data analytics or something with medical research,” he said. He holds a 4.0 GPA and is planning for a future in the Sentara system.

Katelyn SolisKatelyn Solis

The Great Bridge High graduate came to TCC with no firm career goals. Now she plans to be an anesthesiologist. She will graduate in May with an Associate of Science in Science and a 3.7 GPA. She works as a pharmacy technician and volunteers with Edmarc Hospice for Children. She plans to transfer to Virginia Tech to earn her bachelor’s in biology and later apply to medical school. “I encourage students to take advantage of everything TCC has to offer,” she said. “I found a lot of help with the First Year Success advisors and at the Learning Assistance Center, where tutoring is free.”

Jeff WhiteJeffrey White

 Unsure about his career goals, the pro tem of Norfolk’s Student Government Association took a year off to travel abroad before coming to TCC. He found his path and earned a 4.0 GPA and an Associate of Science in Science in December 2018. Now studying biology at Morehouse College, White plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as an endocrinologist.

Charleston YanceyCharleston Yancey

 The vice president of Norfolk’s Student Government Association will graduate in May with his Associate of Science in Social Sciences. The Norfolk native developed a love of public speaking at TCC in Professor Jaclyn Randle’s public speaking class. “She the greatest teacher I ever had,” he said. “My time at TCC has been transformative, and I benefitted a lot from taking her class.” Yancey, who holds a 3.85 GPA, plans to transfer to Virginia Wesleyan University.

Jason YarbroughJason Yarbrough

 The hospital corpsman from the U.S. Navy graduated with his Associate of Science in Science last fall and will graduate with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts in May. He is already enrolled at Old Dominion where he is pursuing a bachelor’s with a pre-med concentration. “My experience with TCC has been nothing but positive,” he said. “I thoroughly appreciate the way the availability of classes is administered. The scheduling allows for nontraditional students, like me, convenience and range. The professors are also very mindful of their students’ time beyond the classroom, cooperate when needed, and are more than understanding of certain unforeseeable circumstances.”  Yarbrough holds a 4.0 GPA at TCC.