CCCC Graduate Noel Martinez Capitalizes on Educational Opportunities

From Central Carolina Community College

Noel Martinez of Lee County (Associate in Arts) was a student speaker at the Central Carolina Community College 11:30 a.m. commencement exercises held on May 11 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.

SANFORD — Carpe diem. It’s an ancient saying that’s usually translated as “seize the day” — the idea that you should embrace the opportunities available now, because you never know what might happen in the future.

It could just as well describe Noel Martinez’s academic journey at Central Carolina Community College.

While still a high school student at Southern Lee, Martinez was accepted into the Caterpillar Youth Apprenticeship, an academic partnership also involving the college and Lee County Schools. Students take college welding classes toward a certificate during their junior and senior years and work two days a week at Caterpillar’s local manufacturing facility.

Not only did that give Martinez a marketable skill at no cost to him or his family, but it also opened a door to college. He continued working at Caterpillar after graduation, and that allowed him to pay for his education.

But Martinez wasn’t finished yet. During that first year of college, more opportunities arose, and he seized those as well.

First, it was admission to C-STEP, the prestigious Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, where students are assured admission to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill if they complete a rigorous academic course of study at the community college.

His achievement at college then led to his selection to the Central Carolina Community College Ambassadors, a group of student leaders who represent the college and receive free tuition for their service, and induction into Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for community college students.

One thing is for sure: Martinez isn’t one to waste opportunities.

“Mental Boot Camp”

But before he heads up U.S. 15-501 to the University of North Carolina this fall, there was one final piece of business: completing the Student Leadership Development Program.

Only 30 nominees across the state are selected each year to attend the six-day, residential leadership workshop operated by the North Carolina Community College System — a “mental boot camp,” as it’s been called, to help exceptional students develop the personal skills needed to become effective leaders.

The 20-year-old Sanford resident learned about this particular opportunity from Aaron Mabe, who advises the CCCC Ambassadors and made the formal nomination. There are many amazing student leaders at the college, he says, but Martinez was the kind of person who came immediately to mind.

“He has many accolades, but is down to earth,” Mabe said a few weeks before Martinez left for the program at William Peace University in Raleigh. “He’s honest, a self motivator, to say the least, and a really humble individual. I’ll say that about him: He keeps himself grounded. In all of our conversations, he’s very focused, and he’ll be there to work.”

Soon after Martinez checked in, he jumped into the busy week. Students took the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality test to help them understand how they see the world and approach decisions. They heard from speakers — and the speakers heard from students. Martinez says one was Anne Bacon, director of strategic planning and policy for the community college system, who gathered insight from the students. “She asked how to improve the community colleges, what we like and what we wanted to change,” Martinez says. “She asked us for information and took notes.”

And each of four student groups dove into a project. Martinez and his colleagues in the Green Group worked on how to get more students involved in college life. Then there was something he didn’t expect — the camaraderie that developed from late night sessions with new friends from around the state.

Was the experience worth it? “Definitely!” he says. “It will really help out in the long run. It was skills you need when you get a job and for life in general. Now we know that we can work in groups and ask people for help. That will be helpful later on, especially when I head to Chapel Hill and get into those late night schedules studying for a test.”

Changing Course

When Martinez arrived on the CCCC campus, welding was his future. He still loves the trade and would be happy to jump back in if his current plans don’t pan out. But seizing opportunities along the way has changed his course. Martinez now plans to major in biology and complete the pre-med requirements at Carolina. He wants to pursue a specialty in trauma surgery, perhaps taking that expertise into the military.

There was no particular reason for that career path. Martinez never had parents in the military or any unusual experience with traumatic injuries. It’s just something he got interested in by opening himself to new options and seizing the day. And CCCC Provost Mark Hall, who leads the Chatham County campus where Martinez completed most of his academic coursework, believes that perspective should take him a long way in life.

“Martinez is an intelligent and hard working student who takes advantage of every opportunity he can earn,” says Hall. “Based on his accomplishments so far, Martinez will achieve whatever he chooses to achieve.”

New USCIS Mobile App

The new app,“USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools,” is now available on the iTunes and Google Play app stores. The app helps you prepare for the civics test during the naturalization interview. It also has a game to challenge your civics knowledge, reminder notifications, and review of past tests. You can also switch between English and Spanish.

Be sure you get our official app! Follow the links above or search for “USCIS” or “USCIS civics.” Then, check that USCISis the developer.

Quick Links to access the resource center:

Screening of Anytown USA student films of Siler City

Date and Time: Thursday, May 25, 2017 

                                7:00pm to 9:00pm

Location: American Tobacco Campus – Power Plant: Full Frame Theater Map

Despite popular misconceptions, the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians live in towns of 5,000 people or less. We are a state of small towns. In fact, NC has the second-most number of small towns in the country. But all is not well. The mass exodus of manufacturing abroad as well as urban flight has devastated small towns. Many are on the verge of disappearing forever.

Anytown USA, created and taught by Randolph Benson, is an annual filmmaking production and editing course in which one small town is featured. Intermediate to advanced continuing education student filmmakers tell stories of their choice within the town. Together the short films form a nuanced, intimate portrait of communities as they struggle to survive. This year’s class focused on the town of Siler City, NC.

Students will screen their films at the Full Frame Theater at a free, public event.

Siler City Film Debut

Free Admission:

Place: The Oasis, Siler City’s Open Air Market

Time: Friday, May 19 at 4:00 PM10:00 PM EDT

Join us starting at 4PM with Laura Jane Vincent and her husband on drums as she sings her songs. 4-6:30 PM
Jeff German performing on acoustic guitar and vocals, with his pedal steel player 6:45-8PM

Smokehouse Bistro, SilkHope Winery, Bear Creek Brews, High Country Kettle Corn, Sweet Southern Ice, and one of the most unique shopping experience. Bounce with US and concessions

At 8:15 PM join us for the 2017 Siler City Documentary Debut, production of Anytown USA. This is a product of the continuing education course at the Center for Documentary Studies taught by veteran instructor and filmmaker Randy Benson. Anytown, USA, has once again spotlighted a small town in North Carolina, Siler City. Seating is first come bring your blanket or folding chair. In case of rain the debut will be at Peppercorn 138 N Chatham Ave.

The Bookmobile

Story Corps are my FAVORITE stories because they are compelling and inspirational. Also, the English of the storytellers is usually clear and easy to understand. This story has some illustrations that enhance it. I’d like to invite you to complete a series of tasks before you start listening to the story.

  1. Watch the video below. TURN OFF the audio and the CLOSED CAPTIONS (CC)
  2. Write and post a brief summary of the story. Who? What?  What happened? Where? When? Why?

3. Watch the video again WITHOUT closed captions. Was your story similar to or different from the storyteller’s? What was different? Can you make any personal connections to this story? What does it remind you of? (make connections at a personal level). Post your personal reflections.

CHALLENGE: transcribe part of the story and then compare it to the transcript in YouTube.

Career Awareness Friday: Successful Teamwork

Students in ESL, HSE, and BELL Academy participated in the The Marshmallow Challenge: build a tower in 18 minutes by using spaghetti, a marshmallow, string, and masking tape.

Students also reflected on the kind of role and behavior they had while completing this task. 



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