Alumni Testimonials

Chad Stewart

"JCC helped me succeed in the working world"

Chad StewartI was a late bloomer out of high school who couldn’t stay focused on academics as a freshman at N.C. State University. But four years in the United States Navy taught me maturity, responsibility, and the importance of education.

After my military service, I enrolled at Johnston Community College knowing that was the beginning of my quest for a four-year degree.

JCC was a stepping stone for me to get back into the classroom so I could further my education and find a good-paying job. I credit JCC with giving me the momentum and drive I needed to get serious about my future. After earning my associate’s degree, I went on to receive my bachelor’s degree in business administration.

As a small-business owner for 15 years, JCC has definitely helped me succeed in the working world.

I’m Chad Stewart and I’m a 1995 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Delzora Atkinson

"No one should feel like they are too old to come back to school"

Delzora AtkinsonFor 11 years, I was a dedicated switch assembler at Eaton Corporation.

I loved working at Eaton. I thought I would be there until I retired. But that didn’t happen. Two years ago, Eaton announced plans to shut down its manufacturing plant in Selma, displacing me and the rest of the plant’s workforce.

At 50, I decided to return to school and take advantage of federal education assistance offered to displaced workers. Next year, I’ll earn my associate’s degree in office systems technology – my second two-year degree from Johnston Community College. My goal is to blend my knowledge and land a good-paying job in the public school system.

I credit the support of my instructors and the TRiO program for inspiring my success. No one should feel like they are too old to come back to school or that you can’t accomplish success because you have to start all over again. There’s opportunity here. If you make the first step, JCC will make the next one for you.

I’m Delzora Atkinson and I’m a current student at Johnston Community College.


Eric Eason

"JCC gave me the confidence to pursue my aspirations to help sick children"

Eric EasonI decided as a high school senior that I wanted to become a doctor one day.
But as a small-town teenager, I wasn’t ready to move away from home to get my medical degree. So I enrolled at Johnston Community College where I was close to family and surrounded by caring instructors to start building my educational foundation.

I earned an associate’s in arts degree and transferred to East Carolina University where two years later I received my bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology. In 2006, I earned my medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology. Today, I’m a resident at Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida.

The guidance I received at JCC gave me the confidence to pursue my aspirations to help sick children. I only have fond memories of JCC. My success as a doctor today is due in part to the guidance and support I received from my community college experience.

I’m Eric Eason and I’m a 1998 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Gary Lee

"JCC helped shape my success"

Gary LeeWhen I was a senior in high school, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go to college.
To be honest, I had a lot of friends going to Johnston Community College, so I pretty much just followed their lead.
I started out pursuing an associate’s degree in general education but soon realized I wanted to major in business administration. Thanks to the guidance of instructors and counselors at JCC I earned my two-year degree and transferred to Mount Olive College where I received my bachelor’s degree. In 2004, I earned my master’s in business administration from Campbell University.
I’m now the president and chief executive officer of the Free Will Baptist Children’s Home, a Christian home in Middlesex for boys and girls ages 12 to 18.
Although I’ve attended four-year schools, my years at JCC instilled in me the importance of education.
When I got to the community college, everybody there wanted to be there and be successful. For the first time in my life, I realized that I was in a place that shared this common interest with people.
I’m Gary Lee and I’m a 1992 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Harold Keen

"Johnston County is extremely fortunate to have Johnston Community College"

Harold KeenMore than 30 years ago, I earned my associate’s degree in accounting from Johnston Community College. Today, I’m president and chief executive officer of KS Bank, a full-service community bank headquartered in Smithfield.

Since its establishment in 1969, JCC has offered hope for success for people with limited opportunities. JCC is affordable, convenient, and provided me the business knowledge I needed to succeed in the banking industry.

Through its degree programs and continuing education courses, JCC offers exceptional training opportunities for many of my employees at KS Bank. The knowledge they gain through the College fosters personal and professional growth. JCC is also an outstanding community partner with KS Bank and with many other businesses and industries in Johnston County.

Any community benefits by having a college in their community. Certainly, Johnston County is extremely fortunate to have Johnston Community College.

I’m Harold Keen and I’m a 1976 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Joan Jones

"For me, JCC is like family"

Joan JonesI think of Johnston Community College like family.

As the College’s first student government association president, a member of the school’s first associate degree graduating class, a former College employee, and a current JCC trustee, I’ve followed the College’s growth with interest over the past 40 years.

I’m a firm believer in the mission of community colleges. I think the educational opportunities community colleges provide for working parents raising children is the institution’s greatest asset.

I went to Johnston Community College primarily because of the schedule and the short traveling distance from home. It was a matter of convenience in place and time and allowed me to get more education on a schedule that fit in with my family.

As we go through life and our circumstances change, our needs for certain knowledge also changes. The community college is so accessible and enables us to add to our learning experiences as we need them.

I’m Joan Jones and I’m a 1972 graduate of Johnston Community College and a member of the Board of Trustees.


Joe Phillips

"From turning wrenches to supervising fleet operations"

Joe PhillipsMost mechanics probably wouldn’t think it’s important to go to college.

But my associate’s degree in heavy equipment and transport technology from Johnston Community College has allowed me to now serve as a regional field maintenance manager for Eagle Transport Corporation, a leader in transporting petroleum products.

I’ve traded turning wrenches in the hot and cold elements of the shop for supervising nine maintenance facilities across the eastern seaboard. JCC has an excellent diesel mechanics curriculum that’s affordable and convenient.

Having a college degree in my profession has definitely given me an edge for career advancement and enabled me to provide a better life for my wife and two sons. Don’t wait too late. The sooner you get your degree the sooner you’ll enjoy your success.

I’m Joe Phillips and I’m a 2001 graduate of Johnston Community College.


John Byrd

"JCC gave me hope and self-confidence"

John ByrdWhen I was an art student 20 years ago at Johnston Community College, I never thought I’d one day be teaching at my alma mater. I was a terrible high school student, struggled with dyslexia, and was very unsure of my abilities.

But over time, I realized that I wanted to teach and that my passion was helping others appreciate art.

My education at JCC gave me hope and a solid foundation on which I could grow personally and professionally. Without the positive support, words of encouragement and cheerleading I received from my instructors at JCC, I never would have had the self-confidence to continue my education.

Today, as director of the graphic arts and fine arts department at JCC, students are my top priority.

I’m John Byrd and I’m a 1988 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Lamar Williams

"My education at JCC allowed my family to buy our first home"

Lamar WilliamsTwo years ago, I was working as a state employee, frustrated with my job that barely paid the bills. Today, I love going to work at a local biopharmaceutical industry and now make enough money to buy my wife and two daughters our first home.

My success is possible because of the skills I learned through the BioWork certificate program at Johnston Community College. Every thing I learned in the program I now use on the job.

The BioWork program is a great opportunity to earn a significant salary quickly. A four-month, $165 course has turned into a lucrative career in just my first year in the industry.

Coming back to school was definitely a commitment but one I was more than willing to make. Whenever I talk to people who are struggling to make ends meet, I tell them about my success thanks to my community college experience. It’s a phenomenal opportunity that has been a life-changing event for me and my family.

I’m Lamar Williams and I’m a 2007 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Lawrence Capps

"I’m proud to say JCC planted the seed to my success."

Lawrence CappsEight years ago, I decided to pursue my dreams of becoming a law enforcement officer and enrolled in the BLET program at Johnston Community College.

The small size of the school, the quality instruction I received, and the friendships I made were just what I needed to help me become a successful sergeant with the Smithfield Police Department.

JCC continues to play a big role in my career as a police officer. As a BLET and in-service training instructor at JCC, I share words of encouragement and motivation to my students in an effort to set a positive example of my department and this College.

The BLET and in-service training programs continue to grow and offer top notch courses in state-of-the-art facilities.

I’m proud to say JCC planted the seed to my success. That’s why it’s important that I give back to this program that has given me so much to me.

I’m Lawrence Capps and I’m a 2001 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Marty Wood

"My associate’s degree is my working degree"

Marty WoodJohnston Community College is the college of choice for my family.
I earned my associate’s degree in radiology at JCC 35 years ago. My daughter, stepson, and son-in-law have also all received their education at JCC.

I can’t say enough about the value of a community-college education. I went on to receive my bachelor’s degree in my profession, but I’ve always considered my associate’s degree to be my working degree. It’s what has allowed me to make my living in radiology and work as an instructor at JCC for 28 years. I received the faculty of the year award from my peers earlier this year for my dedication and commitment to the college.

One of the greatest benefits of community colleges is that they give you the opportunity to learn a trade and within two years you can get a good-paying job. I have always been so thankful for my associate’s degree. It is the basis for my radiology knowledge and has allowed me to have a profession that I enjoy and am so proud of.

I’m Marty Wood and I’m a 1975 graduate of Johnston Community College.


Phillip McDaniel

"JCC has helped me save lives"

Phillip McDanielSince I was a young boy, I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter. I started out as a volunteer fireman when I was 18 and today I earn my living as the chief of the fire department in Selma.

I’ve been able to make a career in fire service because of my training at Johnston Community College. For the past 15 years, I’ve spent thousands of hours in classrooms at JCC honing my skills so that I can better protect and serve my community. As an instructor at JCC, I also train other firemen to be better life savers.

JCC’s emergency responder courses are an excellent resource for fire and rescue departments in the county and surrounding areas. The no-cost, high-quality training is an asset to small, rural departments operating on limited funds.

I owe my career to JCC and I’m thankful I had such excellent training options in my home county.

I’m Phillip McDaniel and I received my fire training at Johnston Community College.


Roger and Audria Johnson

"Without JCC’s support, we would not be here today"

Roger and Audria JohnsonWe’ve always had a desire to raise children.

Three years ago, we decided to go to Johnston Community College and earn our associate’s degree in early childhood education so we could expand our in-home day care.

Today, we are both graduates of the early childhood education program at JCC and operate a five-star licensed child care center in Kenly. Using what JCC taught us, we now care for some 100 children from birth to age 12.

Everything we know about early childhood education we learned at JCC. We now employ 19 teachers, many of whom are current students or graduates of JCC. We support continuing education at JCC because we know the instructors will prepare our teachers for the classroom.

JCC’s flexible class schedule allowed us to earn our degree through night and online classes so we could still work and raise our four children. And the onsite preschool gives you the opportunity to see best practices in action.

We can’t say enough about our local community college. Without JCC’s support, we would not be here today.

We’re Roger and Audria Johnson and we’re 2006 and 2007 graduates of Johnston Community College.


Stephanie Cox-Davis

"I didn’t stop at earning my GED"

Stephanie Cox-DavisI dropped out of high school when I was 17 and married my high school sweetheart, a lieutenant in the Air Force. I always regretted not getting my diploma, and two years ago, a friend of mine told me that I could earn my GED at Johnston Community College.

I entered the GED program and pretty soon I realized my educational pursuit didn’t have to stop there. In May, I’ll graduate with an associate’s degree and plan to transfer to a four-year college. My ultimate goal is to receive my master’s degree and work as a forensic psychologist.

At JCC, I feel like I am right where I belong. Going back to school has been a tremendous opportunity that has changed my whole character. Now every time people see me they say I’m smiling and happy. I’m fulfilling a dream that I never thought would come true.

I’m Stephanie Cox-Davis and I’m a current student at Johnston Community College.


Stephanie Strickland

"Hard work truly pays in the end"

Stephanie StricklandIt had been awhile since I had been in high school and I contemplated whether I had made the right choice by returning to school. Things began to turn around for me when I found out about such programs as Student Support Services and the Academic Skills Center. By my third week at Johnston Community College I had a plan, and was able to make it successfully through my first semester. I also became the recipient of the Rudolph A. Howell & Son Scholarship. Receiving this honor proved to me once again that hard work truly pays in the end.

JCC is geared to help its students be the best possible students they can be. The faculty and staff are a group of wonderful people that will go the extra mile for their students. I now feel more confident that I will be able to finish my degree and successfully return to the workforce with pride.

I’m Stephanie Strickland and I’m a current student at Johnston Community College.


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