On Wednesday, January 18, Sampson Community College (SCC) held a dedication ceremony for a campus bench gifted by members of the Sampson Early College High School (SECHS) Class of 2017 in loving memory of their beloved classmate, Audrey D’Anna Butler who passed away in November of 2022.

Born in 1998, Butler graduated from SECHS in 2017 and enrolled in SCC’s Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program to pursue a career in healthcare. After graduating as an RN in 2019, Butler served the people of Sampson County by working as a nurse at Sampson Regional Medical Center. Later, she welcomed a son, Lucas, with her loving husband, Matt Butler. 

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Members of SECHS’ Class of 2017 were behind the gifting and dedication of the bench in memory of their former high school classmate, Butler. (Photo credit/ Brett Feight)

Present at the dedication on Wednesday were members of Butler’s family, former SECHS and SCC classmates, instructors, and loved ones.

In a brief statement, her family mentioned that they were, “Honored that [D’Anna] was loved so much to carry her name and memory on at the College.”

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Lucas Butler, son of Audrey D’Anna and Matt Butler, pictured with his mother’s memorial at the College. (Photo credit/ Brett Feight)

Dr. Veronica Stevens, Division Chair of Health Programs at SCC, was one of Butler’s instructors during her time in the Nursing program. Speaking on behalf of the College, she expressed her sympathies to the family and remarked that Butler will be deeply missed by all who knew her. According to Dr. Stevens, Butler leaves behind a beautiful legacy, not just through the bench, but through her rare personality that touched so many lives and illuminated each classroom she stepped into.

She explained, “D’Anna was a phenomenal student and nurse who will be greatly missed. However, wonderful memories of our time with her, like a magnet, draw together the broken pieces of our hearts. She had a smile that brightened the dreariest of days. Her positive outlook and kind mannerisms were embraced by peers, faculty, and staff. Her time in the nursing program was characterized by leadership and professionalism that were evident in her role as class officer and student mentor. She shared many of her talents to include her musical expertise as well as unique, original pieces of stunning artwork that grace many of our offices, classrooms, and homes.  She leaves behind a wonderful legacy of beauty and strength that we will forever cherish.”

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(Second row, second from left) Audrey D’Anna Butler pictured with SCC’s ADN Class of 2019.

The bench, engraved with Butler’s name and graduation year, currently resides in SCC’s Warren Student Center, resting in front of the Early College’s banner and beside the College’s piano, an instrument Butler enjoyed playing in her free time.

It will continue to remain on campus in memory of Butler and will forever serve as a reminder of the vast impact she had on her fellow students and instructors, and the immense love they had, and continue to have for her. She will live in the College’s heart always.

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.