WINTERVILLE, N.C. — The Pitt Community College Alumni Association established a new tradition last week by honoring graduates for outstanding professional success and service to the college and community during Convocation.
When faculty and staff kicked off the 2023-24 academic year in the Charles Coburn Center Tuesday, they saw five former Bulldogs receive PCC Alumni Awards in four categories. The honorees were:
- Shannon Jarvis — Distinguished Alumni Award
- Danielle Castleberry — Outstanding Alumni Award
- Alyssa Grace Hoggard — Outstanding Alumni Award
- Devon Sharpe — Young Alumni Award
- Ryan Spruill — Employee Alumni Award.
PCC Development Officer John Bacon said Convocation was an opportunity to celebrate alumni accomplishments in front of many of the instructors and support staff who trained and assisted them during their time at Pitt.
“It’s always a joy to recognize the success of deserving PCC alumni,” Bacon said. “They have made their alma mater proud and are perfect examples of what can happen when individuals combine their PCC education with hard work and determination.”
Jarvis, who received Pitt’s most prestigious honor, graduated from the Paralegal Technology program with honors in 2004. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in law and society from East Carolina University (ECU) and a juris doctor with pro bono honors from Florida Coastal School of Law.
“I came to Pitt originally because I wanted to be a lawyer, and the paralegal program felt more in my reach, since I came from a family that had meager means,” Jarvis said. “In the paralegal program, I fell more in love with the law and decided I would continue my education.”
Since 2018, Jarvis has been an assistant district attorney with North Carolina’s Judicial District 2 District Attorneys’ Office. She prosecutes criminal cases in district and superior court.
“… I think I was built for being a lawyer,” Jarvis says. “I’ve never been shy of confrontation, standing for what is right, or doing the best job I can do.”
In addition to her assistant district attorney’s role, Jarvis has taught at several colleges, including PCC, and served more than a decade on Pitt’s Paralegal Technology Advisory Board. She regularly promotes PCC’s paralegal program, participates in its activities, and enjoys showing young people how the legal system works while encouraging them to pursue legal careers.
“I definitely come from a very different place than most people in my profession,” Jarvis says. “I think that gives me a unique perspective on how students from different backgrounds struggle and face hardships. I’ve never tried to hide that side of me, as I think it is important in how I developed into who I am today.”
Castleberry has been a compliance auditor with ECU Health Medical Center since 2021. She was a Dean’s List student at PCC before earning a medical insurance diploma with a concentration in coding in 2012.
Miriam Kemp, Medicare group coding director with ECU Health, nominated Castleberry, saying she is “beyond dedicated to her career” and “always eager to take on even the most challenging assignment.” She said Castleberry has “grown and flourished” while transitioning from coding specialist to coding auditor.
“(Danielle) has more than earned the respect of countless physicians and fellow coders because of her knowledge and understanding of coding, auditing topics, and her impeccable ability to deliver messages to others,” Kemp said.
Throughout her career, Castleberry has shared her passion for her work with others and supported colleagues. She’s also helped private health care providers and clinics start or clean up their practices and assisted community clinics with reviewing documentation and making the most of revenue opportunities.
“The passion I have for what I do is without a doubt shown in everything I do,” Castleberry says. “This is not just a job for me but a lifelong career that I take with much pride.”
Hoggard, a 2019 Associate in Arts graduate, owns and operates Grace at Home Treasures in Merry Hill. She opened the boutique as an Etsy store in 2017 while she was enrolled at PCC and has been pursuing an entrepreneurial career since.
Hoggard was nominated by her sister-in-law, Rhonda Hoggard Smith, who noted the support Alyssa’s shown the community through her business and her participation as a vendor in the PCC Foundation’s Down East Holiday Show. Smith also cited Hoggard’s contributions to Greenville’s Hospice House and volunteerism with ECU Health Chowan Hospital.
“Alyssa continues to strive to be and do better in her professional and personal life,” Smith said. “She loves her family, her customers, and her community.”
A former PCC VISIONS student, Sharpe completed 24 credits at Pitt on his way to earning a bachelor’s degree in social work from ECU and, through the reverse transfer process, an Associate in Arts from PCC. He has been a social worker with Pitt County Schools since 2020, a career he’s pursued since discovering that “a kind gesture can change a person’s life forever” as an E.B. Aycock Middle School student.
Melissa Rees, chair of PCC’s Education and Child Development Department, has known Sharpe since he was a baby and watched him overcome numerous obstacles throughout his life to become the professional he is today. She nominated him for his award, citing his personal and academic perseverance and community support, which includes a toy collection project for underprivileged children and purchasing donations for the Pitt County Council on Aging.
“Devon told me he wanted to give back in honor of the many people, including a school social worker, who had helped him along the way,” Rees said. “He has had a very bumpy ride but continues to strive to help others and be the best he can be. I am a better person for knowing Devon Sharpe ….”
Spruill joined PCC’s faculty in 2016 as clinical coordinator of the polysomnography program from which he earned an associate degree four years earlier. He has been its director since 2021 – the same year he was nominated for a teaching excellence award.
Throughout his career, Spruill has been an active member of the PCC campus community. He’s assisted with the PCC Foundation’s Employee Fund Drive each year since 2019 and is one of the organization’s annual “Fair Share” givers.
PCC Respiratory Therapy Program Director Rusty Sugg nominated Spruill for his award, calling him “a delight to work with” and noting his professional attitude, excellent communication skills and devotion to higher education.
“(Ryan) is a student advocate and devotes a great deal of time making sure program goals and objectives are met,” Sugg said.