TRIO Student Support Services - Cleveland CC Shelby, NC







Important Announcements:




Virtual College Fair

Registration is Open!

Transfer Students

Thursday, April 22nd


Registration is now open for our Virtual College Fair! Sign-up to virtually connect with 200+ colleges and universities from around the country and world for free


During the Virtual College Fair, you will have the chance to hear from many different colleges. You can choose which colleges you want to hear from by registering for their sessions. You and your family can ask questions of the college representatives throughout the presentations too!


All sessions will be recorded, so please register for ALL college/universities that you have an interest in, even if you can’t make the live session…you’ll have an opportunity to watch the recordings later!


Check out the schedule, list of colleges, and register now!


Time to show off! If you picked up a flower-planting kit and plants, be sure to send us photos of you planting the plants! Let us see your planting photos and we'll try to put some of them on the website!

Hey Everyone,


Please check out the First Gen. Lounge, a free podcast exclusively for first generation students and professionals. In this 30 minute episode, I discuss some of the challenges first generation and low income students face as they transition out of college with some featured stories. 


Listen to this episode and many more here:  



Thanks! 🙂

-Joshua Farris

University of Virginia Alumnus | BS in Youth & Social Innovation



TRIO Pets on Parade:


Respond to the “Be Kind” blog prompt –>HERE<–

(make sure you are already logged into Blackboard first or the link will not work)! Your post should be 5-7 sentences long reflecting on your thoughts to be eligible to win a gift card!


Respond to the two Martin Luther King, Jr. videos above by clicking –> HERE <– (make sure you are already logged into Blackboard first or the link will not work)! Your post should be 5-7 sentences long reflecting on your thoughts to be eligible to win a gift card!

Student Achievements:

Spring 2021 President's List. Congratulations to our TRIO-SSS Students on their academic achievement. Iliana Bryan, Ian Griffin, Elizabeth Hartsell, Sarybel Trejo-Ortiz, Kimberly Valentine. Students who recieve a 4.0 GPA at the end of the semester and are enrolled full-time at CCC.

Spring 2021 Dean's List. Santavious Addison, Hannah Fox, Makayla Nock, Rachel Vinson, William Darnell, Vance Gardner, Nikolai Novak, Emily Waiton, Markeela Foster, Mackenzie Horne, Angela Petty, Djalante Whitten. Students who recieve a 3.5 to 3.99 GPA at the end of the semester and are enrolled full-time at CCC.


Image is a logo that reads "Trio Student Support Services" in black and red.

What is TRIO?

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs across the United  States designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects. The eight TRIO programs are Educational Opportunity Centers; Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement; Student Support Services; Talent Search; Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs Staff; Upward Bound; Upward Bound Math-Science; and Veterans Upward Bound.

First-generation college students, students who are low-income, and students with academic or physical disabilities may apply.


Who is eligible to participate in TRIO-SSS program?

You are eligible for TRIO-Student Support Services if you are a first-generation college student, if you have financial need, or if you have a documented disability. First-generation college students are students who do not have a parent who received a four-year college degree. Financial need means that your income or your family’s income falls below the income figure determined by the federal government, based on family size. A documented disability is a physical, learning, or psychological disability that has been verified by a licensed medical doctor.

How do I apply for TRIO-SSS?

TRIO SSS Applications are available in the TRIO office on the second floor of the Jack Hunt Campus Center. An interview will be required before you can be accepted. Once you are accepted, there is no cost to participate, but you will be required to be active in our programs, such as tutoring and advising. Our services and requirements are designed to ensure your success here at CCC and beyond. We’re committed to making your college experience rewarding!

What are some of the services provided by TRIO-SSS?

Our academic services include tutoring in a variety of subject areas, one-on-one academic advising and educational planning, free workshops and seminars on study skills and organization, and mentoring opportunities to help you set personal and academic goals. We may also be able to arrange visits to colleges and universities you would like to attend.

Our counseling and financial aid services include personal assistance with applications to four-year universities and financial aid applications. We will help you explore both public and private scholarships. We also provide personal, career, and academic counseling to help you set and meet personal and academic goals.

As a participant in the TRiO-SSS program, you will have opportunities to participate in on- and off-campus cultural enrichment activities, which will educate and enhance your college experience. These activities will be free or provided at a reduced rate.

Various Important Student Forms are located –>HERE<–


August 2020

Activity Photos

Markeela’s son helps her plant flowers!

Markeela's tomato plant thriving!Markeela's purple and yellow violas blooming in a pot!
Markeela’s beautiful flowers thriving in their new home!

Taylor Johnson's plants in their new pots, a pretty pansy in a grey pot and a tomato plant in a blue pot sitting happily on a desk!
Taylor’s pretty plants!

    Mary wearing a Team Rocket uniform is holding her flowers and flower-planting kit from TRIO.      Candie holds her flowers and flower-planting kit proudly.    

                                 “National Flower Planting Day”
Students were given a tomato plant and a flowering plant along with a flower-planting kit
 consisting of a foam kneeling board, a shovel, and a pair of gardening gloves.


    "TRIO Cares Room 2133" Sign by Sarah Grissinger      "Student Support Services Supports You!! Room 2133" Sign by Nedra Maddox

                                                              “Chalk Walk” with Student Government, February 23, 2021

From left to right, Kweli and Mackenzie stand with their TRIO Cares bags for TRIO Cares month.Mahagany stands with her TRIO Care bag.Quidarryl stands with his TRIO Cares bag.Tanner stands with his TRIO Cares bag.

Michael shows off his TRIO Cares bag!
TRIO Cares Month in February 2021   

                  A small piñata made with a toilet paper roll, covered with a tissue paper dress and a drawn face and colorful tissue paper hat, hung up with a string.
                Frida Kahlo Mini Piñata  

     Giselle is holding a colorful picture-frame around her head and shoulders on an angle. She has orange maracas in both hands and a tiny black and gold sombrero on her head with brightly colored feathers and bows coming out of it. She has on a black mask and grey top and pants with white sneakers. Green, yellow, and red curtains are in the background. A Hispanic woman is holding a baggie and sitting at a desk with multiple pieces of colored paper before her. She is wearing a grey shirt and jeans with checkerboard-patterned shoes and a purple mask.    A young Black man holds up his colorful parachute project. He is wearing a NASA t-shirt with a light blue hoodie and khaki pants. He is standing in a classroom and has on a black mask. A young woman wearing a white t-shirt with a black mask on holding a parachute she made.           

              Hispanic Heritage Day was held on Oct 14th, 2020                                          “What Color is Your Parachute?”               

                   Students and staff participated in a scavenger                                       Students participated in a learning activity 
                    hunt to learn more about the culture, created                                               regarding personality and career
                       mini pinatas, used photobooth with props                                                                     assessment.
                             and took home authentic treats.


     A painting of birch trees surrounding a flowing creek or river that has rocks along it with green grass and a blue sky with a line of trees in the background. A landscape painting with thick trees surrounding a body of water with trees and mountains in the background.      

          Painted by Nikolai                    Painted by Candie

                                                “Calling All Artists On Deck”                                                

“The TRIO Program was instrumental in helping me organize my career path. As a first-generation student, the college was intimidating, but with the help, I received on my journey I was able to succeed in my career and graduate as Class of 2017.I’m so grateful and thankful for the people that helped me and the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing program. I will always remember the encouragement and support the staff provided me. I look forward to being an inspiration for other first-generation students.”

– Maria Mendoza-Pineda, Class of 2017M

“This is my second semester at CCC. I completely relate to the difficulties of being a first-generation college student. I recently joined a program called “TRIO” here at the college. TRIO is a program that can help assist you through college and is set up for first-generation students. TRIO has college tours available that they take us on for FREE! They also help prepare you for your future by helping get internships, counseling, and other very important resources. They also help you with the transfer application process. I highly recommend that you look into it because it is a great program!”

– ACA 122 Blackboard Response, Cleveland Community College


Meet the Staff

A Black woman smiling big at the camera with straight white teeth and braided hair. She is wearing a top with a white black and tan abstract design and is standing in front of a gold wall with a framed painting behind her with purple, blue, white, and tan colors.

Annette Toms

Phone number: 704-669-4186


Annette Toms, TRIO-SSS Director, has worked in higher education for more than 30 years teaching, advising, counseling, and doing motivational speaking. She loves this career and feels this is a calling in her life. She feels her work truly gives her purpose and allows her to stay and think young while helping students recognize and reach their college, personal, and career goals! Annette earned her associate degree from Isothermal Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Masters of Education in Counseling and Higher Education Administration from UNC Charlotte. She also has an Associate in Science degree in Mortuary Science and has worked on her doctoral degree at Syracuse University. She states, “This has been very rewarding for me both personally and professionally.”
A Black woman smiling big with a silver necklace and a blue top with blue, purple, and white pants that have a floral design sitting on some rocks in a garden. There is a whirlygig red bird on a post next to her. She has a white fence running behind her in the distance which frames the photo nicely.

Betty Z. Taylor

Phone number: 704-669-4188


Betty Z Taylor has been an Academic Advisor for the TRIO-SSS program since the fall of 2011. She has worked in higher education since 1989 in the areas of admissions, counseling, academic orientation, and teaching. Her passion is working with college students to assist them in reaching their academic goals! She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Western Illinois University and a master’s degree in Human Development & Counseling from Bradley University.
A white woman with brown hair and gold highlights wearing a fuzzy peach top standing in front of a blue background smiling.

Karen Sweezy

Phone Number: 704-669-4258


Karen Sweezy, Academic Advisor, joined the TRIO staff in September 2020. She worked in the private sector for ten years before entering the field of public service and education. Ms. Sweezy earned her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and later returned to school to earn an NC Teacher’s License in Career Technical Education grades 6-12 and Career Development Coordinator. She taught CTE in Cleveland County Schools and Cleveland Early College High School as the Career Development Coordinator. During this period, she earned a Master of Arts in Education Degree from East Carolina University. After working eight years at CECHS, she moved to Cleveland Community College as a Career Coach, Advisor, Early College/AMA Liaison, and now as a TRIO-SSS Advisor.

Ms. Sweezy brings many years of experience working with students and has a passion for helping them recognize their potential, learn to self-advocate, utilize resources, overcome barriers, and plan for a successful future. The greatest reward is watching students achieve success especially when they didn’t believe it was possible.


A young white woman with short brown hair and hazel eyes is wearing a blue shirt with blue and gold eyeshadow around her eyes. She is giving a Mona Lisa style smile in front of a forest.

Sarah Grissinger (Front Desk)

Phone number: 704-669-4168


Sarah Grissinger, Administrative Assistant, joined the TRIO team in October 2020. Sarah earned her associate’s degree in English from Cleveland Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA). She previously has worked as a part-time IT Technician for CCC for five years, a Student IT Tech at UNCA, and has worked in a pet store, grocery store, and Biltmore at different times of her life. She enjoys helping others, reading, and spending time with her cats.



“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~Maya Angelou (Poet)