SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College named 11 students as finalists for its 2021-2022 Student Excellence Awards. Two of the finalists were chosen to represent the College in competition at the state level, with a third selected as the Rowan-Cabarrus Academic Excellence winner.

Thaisala EubanksThaisala Eubanks is the College’s Governor Robert Scott Student Leadership Award nominee. Robert W. Scott served as N.C. State Governor and later as president of the North Carolina Community College System, and the award bearing his name honors students who demonstrate extraordinary leadership qualities. Eubanks had always wanted to attend college but, as a teenage mother, put her education on hold to raise a family. She is pursuing her degree at Rowan-Cabarrus with the goal of working in juvenile counseling and continuing to help her family operate their non-profit organization, which assists children and families who have been displaced from their homes and are living temporarily in hotels. Eubanks is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success, as well as the Rowan-Cabarrus President’s List.

Connor Kyles was honored as the Rowan-Cabarrus Academic Excellence Award winner. The award recognizes the academic achievement, leadership, and community service of a student from each of the 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. After dropping out of a four-year institution on his first attempt and struggling with substance abuse and depression, Kyles is in recovery and helps others overcome the same struggles he faced. He now has a 4.0 grade point average at Rowan-Cabarrus.

Leonidas Lazo was chosen as the Rowan-Cabarrus Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee. Dr. Herring, a North Carolina native, is acknowledged as the philosophical godfather of the state’s community college system for his belief that education should be available to all and that community colleges should “take people from where they are, to as far as they can go.” Lazo came to the United States at age 18 and taught himself English while working full-time so that he could pursue a degree in Construction Management Technology at Rowan-Cabarrus.

Student Excellence Award finalists were selected for personal interviews from a pool of hundreds of applicants.

Along with Eubanks, Kyles and Lazo, the 2021-2022 Rowan-Cabarrus Student Excellence Award finalists included Justin Davis, Grace Dunn, Rodina Eliwa, Sabre Foster-Furr, Tyler Jeffery, Chandra Johnson, Alshonda Peoples, and Jasmine Rosenberry.

“We are extremely pleased to recognize these exceptional students and their impressive accomplishments,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “As we learned about their life experiences, personal victories and goals for the future, we were inspired and very proud of their achievement, leadership and perseverance.”