Blue Ridge Community College President Dr. Laura Leatherwood, left, poses with Paralee Cox, right, a soon-to-be Blue Ridge surgical technology graduate, who was recently selected as the recipient of the North Carolina Community College System Dallas Herring Achievement Award. (Photo Credit: Rich Keen, Blue Ridge Community College Marketing & Communications Dept.)
Paralee Cox, a soon-to-be surgical technology graduate at Blue Ridge Community College, has been selected out of 58 community college nominees as the North Carolina Community College System Dallas Herring Achievement Award recipient.
The Dallas Herring Achievement Award was established in 2010 by the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, whose philosophy of “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go” is the guiding principle of the system. The award is given annually to a current or former community college student in North Carolina who best embodies Dr. Herring’s philosophy.
Cox has overcome tremendous odds raised by parents who allowed drugs and violence to be a normal part of the home environment. She was in and out of foster homes beginning at the age of nine, and in 2014 she was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for drug-related charges. After earning her GED, she was able to make the right connections and has been an accomplished student at Blue Ridge Community College. Cox is now employed by Pardee UNC Health Care as a surgical technician.
“I am so proud to be launching my new career, and it all started one day when I wrote to Blue Ridge Community College from prison,” said Paralee Cox when she learned of her award earlier this week. “Blue Ridge helped me every step of the way with anything I needed to accomplish my goals. They will go to bat for you. If I can complete a degree and be recognized with an award like this, it is possible for anyone.”
“Paralee truly represents Dr. Herring’s philosophy,” said Blue Ridge Community College President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood. “She has persevered and overcome so much in order to make a better life for herself through education and a new career. We are so honored to have her as one of our students.”
While a student at Blue Ridge Community College, Paralee received the Hans & Liselotte R. Wehrheim Scholarship through Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation. She will receive a plaque and a $1,000 scholarship from the North Carolina Community Colleges Foundation. Blue Ridge graduate Danielle Tate-Maccaroni received the Dallas Herring award in 2013.