HAMLET — Richmond Community College student Kimberly Sheppard of Laurinburg received the 2017 Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes outstanding academic achievements of students in the N.C. Community College System.
An accounting major, Sheppard will graduate Saturday from RichmondCC with a 4.0 grade-point average, which is a far cry from where she was just a few years ago when college seemed like a distant idea. Sheppard also did not expect to receive the Academic Excellence Award.
“I was surprised to receive this award. While I did maintain a high GPA every semester, I can’t believe I was selected from all the students and to represent the college for this award,” she said.
Sheppard spent 15 years in the workforce after high school, but she knew she’d never have a career without a college education. Going back to school would be a challenge because she now had children and family responsibilities. After much contemplation, she enrolled at RichmondCC in the fall of 2015.
“I kept telling myself, if I don’t go back, I’ll never have a good career,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard decided to major in accounting because she knew it was something she’d really enjoy. Her enthusiasm for her classwork and making good grades was apparent to her instructors.
“Kimberly was extremely conscientious and sought to learn more than was required,” said mathematics instructor Leslie Smith. “She was the most giving and joyful student I have taught at RichmondCC. She always brought sunshine into the classroom — every day. She constantly gave of her time to help her classmates, making every attempt to help them, even if it meant putting her work aside to help others succeed.”
Smith described Sheppard as a “positive ray of light in any situation.”
Sheppard will further her education in accounting at Gardner-Webb University this fall. She will be taking online classes with the university and working toward a bachelor’s degree.
The Career and Transfer Center at RichmondCC helped Sheppard map out her transfer plan to Gardner-Webb and also helped her find a job at a local tax firm.
“I learned about the job through the Career and Transfer Center, and Lori McLaughlin, who works at the center, helped me tweak my resume to perfection and also gave me interview tips. She was so helpful,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard landed the job as an administrative assistant at Bobby E. Singletary, CPA in Hamlet. She will continue her employment with the firm while working on her bachelor’s degree.
To learn more about Richmond Community College, visit www.richmondcc.edu or call (910) 410-1700. New students are now being accepted for fall semester, which begins Aug. 16.
Wylie D. Bell is director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.