Each year, as the college anticipates its annual Campus Drive – typically one of its first fundraising events of the year – nominations begin to roll in for the Faculty and Staff EXCEL Awards. The EXCEL Awards recognize two Sampson Community College employees who go above and beyond in their daily workplace and community.

Nominators and nominees must be full-time employees for at least three years. After all nominations are received, an anonymous EXCEL Selection Committee reviews candidates. With the complications and uncertainties caused by COVID-19, Sampson Community College saw several employees step up and adapt to meet the needs of students; this was made evident by the EXCEL nominations, where nominations more than doubled.

“It warms my heart to read the beautiful nominations, and it gives me and the EXCEL Selection Committee a chance to see, firsthand, the work being done. This year we had more than twice the number of recommendations ever and all of them were great,” Lisa Turlington, Dean of Advancement, shared.

This year, the college recognized two recipients, Nursing Instructor, Dr. Sabrina Pope, and Coordinator of Planning & Research, Angela Warner.

To her coworkers, Angie Warner is known for her kind and caring demeanor, and to those closest, her humor and funny antics. More than that, Warner is hailed for her dedication to Sampson Community College, where she began as an employee in its evening division in 1989. As Coordinator of Planning and Researching, Warner wears several hats.

“Angie will move mountains to ensure needs are met to make others work and circumstances better than her own, even when it means her own work is put on the back burner. She consistently finds ways to help her co-workers when she sees a need,” says Wanda Capps, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Warner’s nominator.

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Warner pictured with her EXCEL Award moments after learning of her nomination. (Photo Credit, Cheyenne McNeill)

Capps says that Warner’s positivity and sincere selflessness in her day-to-day work made her an excellent candidate for the EXCEL Award.

“Angie makes the bad days good and the good days even better! Angie has always and continues to exemplify the mission of the College and positively impacts students, faculty, and staff,” Capps concluded.

Warner says receiving the campus honor was a shock. Up until the moment her name was called, she says she never had any knowledge that she was a recipient.

“I was so surprised. I had no idea that I would receive the award. I am truly appreciative and honored to have been chosen for the Excel Award,” Warner commented.

Dr. Sabrina Pope has become an asset to her department. From her role as the first nursing faculty tutor to her creation of a program to mentor new nursing faculty. To her coworkers, Pope’s efforts to foster increased capability and improved job performance in her colleagues is noticeable and appreciated.

“Ms. Pope is the epitome of a leader, a team player, and one who goes above and beyond her assigned duties. She always puts the students first in her role as an educator. She advises and mentors students with ease and confidence. She conveys professionalism in the classroom and fosters excellence in her students. She takes advantage of every opportunity to help her students and colleagues, and rarely backs down from a challenge,” Dr. Veronica Stevens, Healthcare Division Chair, remarked.

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Pope pictured with her EXCEL Award after receiving the award. (Photo Credit, Cheyenne McNeill)

Pope’s leadership extends beyond the classroom and the college. She’s Vice President of a local chapter of a nursing sorority, and on the advisory committee for the Sampson County Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention initiative. Pope managed to make time for her efforts at Sampson Community College and in her community while completing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice this summer.

Pope says hearing of her recognition was an extreme honor, especially being that 2020 has been called the Year of the Nurse. With the challenges of COVID-19, nurses and their skills surely have been put to the test.

“I am beyond excited. I am so humbled to receive the Faculty Excel Award. Being a Nursing Instructor is my dream job, and I am thankful to be in my role at the school where my journey began. It is rewarding to share the journey with my students. I am thankful for my mentors who molded me into the individual I am today. ‘Begin Here, Go Anywhere’ is a true motto,” she shared.

The college also recognized two other finalists, English Instructor, Britt Honeycutt, and Myra Gray, Housekeeping Supervisor. Honeycutt and Gray will have a chance to be nominated again for the 2021 EXCEL Awards.

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Finalist, Myra Gray, received news of her nomination moments before heading home for the day, still, surrounded by her department coworkers. (Photo Credit, Cheyenne McNeill)
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Finalist Britt Honeycutt’s nominator said the English Instructor strives to make SCC home for everyone. (Photo Credit, Cheyenne McNeill)

Typically, EXCEL Awards are presented in front of peers and colleagues at the college’s annual Campus Drive fundraiser event. This year, awards were presented to recipients with their divisions, and finalists were celebrated with a video marking the honor. Sampson Community College is the only community college whose employees donate to student college scholarships at a 100% rate and have done so for more than 30 years. 

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.