Vance-Granville Community College has named student Sharon M. Lark of Bunn as its recipient of the North Carolina Community College System’s Academic Excellence Award for 2012. One student from each of the 58 colleges in the state system will be honored at the N.C. Community Colleges Excellence Event, called “The Great Within the 58,” on April 19 in Raleigh.
Lark is currently working toward completing two degrees, an Associate in Arts (College Transfer) and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Administration. She has taken most of her classes online through VGCC’s Distance Education program, but she has also taken one face-to-face course at the college’s Main Campus and another at the Franklin County Campus. Lark has been named to the Dean’s List more than once. She excels in class while also raising children and grandchildren and working full-time as a financial counselor at Franklin Regional Medical Center in Louisburg.
Lark first enrolled in Accounting courses at VGCC in 2010. She had wanted to obtain a college degree for many years and saw her opportunity now that her children were getting older. “I talked it over with my 19-year-old son, Andrew,” Lark recalled. “He said, ‘Ma, you can do it. I got you.’” He knew that she would need help, especially in caring for her two granddaughters. “He was all for it,” Lark said. “I signed up for summer classes. My son picked the girls up from daycare, took them to the park and even cooked dinner on the nights I had class. Things looked like they were going well.” Then, tragedy struck, when, six days into the fall 2010 semester, her son was killed in an automobile accident. “Although my family engulfed me with support, I thought about dropping my classes, but I could hear my son telling me ‘Ma, you can do it. I got you.’ So that’s when I decided that the education I achieve isn’t just for me; it is for both of us,” Lark said. “I was going to do all that I had to do to see this journey through to the end. So the day I hold the degree in my hand from Vance-Granville and the one I plan to earn from a four-year university, I can say, ‘Yeah, son, see, I got you, too.’”
“We are very proud to nominate Sharon for this award in recognition of her commitment to her education in the face of adversity,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC. “Her academic success, determination and work ethic have made her an excellent role model for her children and grandchildren, as well as for other VGCC students.”