Michael Parnell is CCC’s 2023 Academic Excellence Award winner. Parnell graduated in May with a 4.0 GPA. He received his Associate in Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology degree.
“In 2002, I graduated high school and told my mother I wanted to take a year off before going to college. Instead, I worked part-time for two years and became a volunteer firefighter.
“Becoming a volunteer firefighter changed my life in a positive way. I started working as a paid firefighter and focusing on my future. I got married and have three wonderful children.
“Twenty years later, I am a deputy fire marshal in Caldwell County and decided it was time to begin my college education if I wanted to be successful in completing my career goals. After talking to fellow firefighters, I contacted Richard Carroll at Cleveland Community College. Mr. Carroll was highly informative and helped get me on the right track.
“In 2021, I started to pursue my associate degree in Fire Protection Technology at Cleveland Community College. . .I will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and prove to myself and my children that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
About the Academic Excellence Award
The North Carolina Community College System Foundation presents the annual Academic Excellence Award to one deserving student at each of the 58 community colleges.
To be eligible, a student must have completed at least 12 semester hours in an associate degree program or at least six hours of coursework toward a one-year certificate. They must also have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher.