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Growing up in the Statesville area, Zachary Holmes was always impressed by how his grandfather – Phil Carlton – conducted himself as an officer of the law for the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

“The way he carried himself, and the way he talked to others – he was always humble and considerate,” Holmes recalled of his grandfather, who retired as a sergeant after 30 years with the DMV before it merged with the highway patrol in the early 2000s. “He always tried to do better for others than he did for himself.”

That’s the primary reason Holmes decided to go into law enforcement himself; he recently completed his Basic Law Enforcement Training through Southwestern Community College’s Public Safety Training Center and was one of 10 graduates honored at a ceremony on Sept. 25 in Franklin.


Each year, the Macon County School District leaders honor one teacher in the district for their outstanding accomplishments and dedication to students by naming a "Teacher of the Year." This year, the Macon County School District had the honor of recognizing one of their own former students, Andrea Chalker, as the 2015 Teacher of the Year.

"Teaching is a challenging endeavor," said Chalker. "We are not developing a product. We are inspiring human beings, our next generation. To be successful, you have to be supported and collaborate with the community around you. That includes your administration, peers, coaches, parents, community members, businesses, the list goes on and on. I have been blessed to have been surrounded by the best from my beginnings at Cartoogechaye all the way to my current school in Highlands."


A look back at the beginning and the evolution of MEC.

For the last decade, Macon Early College (MEC) has been been shaping an identity to find its place and purpose for local students. From a change in venue, to personnel growth, to an increase in enrollment numbers, each of the last 10 years has undergone a little evolution and have contributed to what Macon Early College is today as the school celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

"My impression is that the school has developed its own culture and has really found its identity," said Gary Brown, Macon Early College's first principal. After a short retirement, Brown now serves as a social studies teacher for MEC. "In the early years, it was difficult for our staff members to effectively describe the new school to prospective students and their parents. We were truly a work in progress and the school changed dramatically over the first few years."


As part of an effort to help more students complete their college education, Southwestern Community College has received $710,589 from a U.S. Department of Education “First in the World” grant.

The “First in the World” program aims to find solutions that will help alleviate persistent, widespread challenges that have prevented at-risk students from persisting in and completing college.

SCC was one of 10 partner colleges involved in a “Development Grant” that will implement an evaluated methodology for addressing student retention and graduation. One of only two such awards in the nation, the North Carolina effort was led by Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Sanford.

Altogether, the partnership yielded $9.2 million. Other partner schools are Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Carteret, Cleveland, Isothermal, Pamlico, Randolph and Roanoke Chowan Community Colleges as well as College of the Albemarle.


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