COA Foundation Newsletter
Connecting with community, alumni, donors and friends.

December 2020
The College of The Albemarle Foundation hosted a virtual “Cheers to 60th Years” celebration on Saturday, October 3. The event featured a destination auction and raffle for a one-carat champagne diamond, donated by Creative Jewelers in Kill Devil Hills. All proceeds from this event supported the College of The Albemarle Foundation’s new Capital Campaign to aid in outfitting new buildings and emerging programs. The event raised $5,790 along with an additional $1,160 from the Weeping Radish Brewery from all the proceeds raised from sales of COA's 60th anniversary commemorative beer!
Caption (left to right): Sophie Bennewitz, Weeping Radish; Amy Alcocer, executive director, COA Foundation; Dr. Jack Bagwell, president, COA; Paul O'Neal, COA Board of Trustees; Uli Bennewitz, Weeping Radish; Jeff Aldridge, COA Foundation; Selina Jarvis, COA Board of Trustees
For more information on College of The Albemarle's Capital Campaign, please contact Amy Alcocer at 252-335-0821 ext. 2263 or by email at [email protected].
Photo left to right: Kevin Howard, Simon Rick, Joan Maxwell, Bob Quinn, Jimmy Stallings, Robin Zinsmeister, Dr. Bagwell Bagwell, Dr. Michael Sasscer, Patti Kersey, Hal Burns, Liza Layton, Bob Kirby
Photo left to right: Robin Zinsmeister, Dean, Workforce Development, Public Services and Career Readiness, Brandy Lynn Pierce, J&J Enterprises Owner, and John Baker, J&J Enterprises Owner
College of The Albemarle was excited to work with partners like J & J Enterprises to ensure the equipment needed to launch the new Truck Driving Program was secured. Supporters like John Baker and Brandy Lynn Pierce made this program come to life through their donation of a 1998 tractor trailer to use for classroom instruction.
Photo left to right: Anne Craig, Olam Edible Nuts, Dr. Jack Bagwell and Dean Robin Zinsmeister, College of
The Albemarle, Kenneth Moore, Cliff Alford Trucking, Hal Burns, Jimbo’s Jumbos
Community supporters are paving the way for College of The Albemarle’s (COA) new
Truck Driving Program. Jimbo’s Jumbos and Olam Edible Nuts have partnered with the COA Foundation by donating five thousand dollars each towards the Truck Driving Program fund. “World class jobs are available right here on Peanut Drive in
Edenton, North Carolina and high school students do not have to go far to earn a skill to be able to secure a career locally,” stated Hal Burns, General Manager of Jimbo’s Jumbos.
College of The Albemarle (COA) recently received a donation from Smithfield Foods. The 2014 Mack tractor trailer cab truck, valued at $25,000 is in the process of being transported to the Edenton-Chowan Airport where the equipment will be used this fall for COA’s Truck Driving Program. The college is partnering with the local airport to have the space needed to train its students with the hands-on component of the classroom instruction.

Darren Hallstead, senior regional operations manager for Smithfield Foods and a COA Drafting and Design graduate, was instrumental in working with the college along with his colleagues to bring this program to life. Several businesses within Northeast North Carolina and beyond need CDL drivers and the local community college needed partners like Smithfield to be able to serve this need. 

The Foundation has scholarships available for students interested in the truck driving program that were funding by anonymous donors, City Beverage Company Elisha Coppersmith Scholarship Fund and the George P. Armstrong Jr. Memorial Scholarships. CLICK HERE TO APPLY TODAY!
The Edenton Chowan Partnership made the commitment to support the Truck Driving Program at College of The Albemarle’s Edenton Chowan Campus by making an annual donation of $2,000. “The Edenton-Chowan Partnership is excited for this partnership with COA, the truck driving program, and all that is to come,” noted Liza Layton, Edenton Chowan Partnership executive director. The first two years the money will go towards the program support fund and awarded out in scholarships to students in the program thereafter. This commitment is one that gives our area the opportunity to grow by fulfilling a much-needed demand in our area for CDL drivers throughout several industries.
Photo left to right: Buddy Shavender, CEO, Shavender Trucking Robin Zinsmeister, Dean, Workforce Development, Public Services and Career Readiness, Charlie Creighton, CEO, Colony Tire & Atlantic Tire
Atlantic Tire Distributors and Colony Tire donated $10K for COA to put towards the purchase of a sleeper truck for the program. Mr. Charlie Creighton was able to make connections for the college to line up the resources needed to launch the program.

COA's Truck Driving Program started in November. The program is being offered as a 10-week program, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a total 384 hours. Future plans for 2021 include expansion to an evening/weekend program.

The Truck Driver Training curriculum provides students with training to inspect and operate tractor-trailers and to assume driver responsibilities on the road and at pickup/delivery points. Emphasis is placed on vehicle inspections, defensive driving, range maneuvers, motor carrier safety regulations (DOT 380 – 397 and a certificate for entry-level drivers), trip planning, cargo handling, size/weight laws, general maintenance procedures, hours of service, and accident prevention. All training, instruction, and testing are completed at college-approved facility with school-provided equipment.
Photo left to right: Jim Lilley, Lilley International; Amy Alcocer, COA Foundation; Dr. Jack Bagwell, COA; Charlie Creighton, CEO, Colony Tire & Atlantic Tire; Scott Breon, instructor/program coordinator, Truck Driver Training at COA; Ernest Brown, Lilley International; Laurence Lilley, Lilley International; and Patti Kersey, chair, COA Board of Trustees
On September 21, the College of The Albemarle Foundation dedicated a Ginkgo Tree, donated by The Plant Park, in honor of one of the institution's founding fathers, Charles M. Gordon. Sixty years ago, Mr. Gordon worked to establish COA as the first community college in North Carolina. Since then, the college continues to expand its programs and services throughout the seven-county Albemarle area. A Memorial Fund has been set up in Mr. Gordon's honor to raise funds for a naming opportunity.
Alumni Association Annual Meeting & Raffle
Mark your tonight, Friday, December 4, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. for the Alumni Association's annual meeting event.

The winner of the "Over the Dune" raffle drawing will be announced!

There is still time to purchase tickets until 5 p.m. today!! Call The Foundation at 252-335-0821 ext. 2265
Only 150 tickets available with only 109 sold thus far!
New Scholarships
The Rae Eley Endowed Scholarship: The Rae Eley Endowed Scholarship was established with a gift of $25,444 from the Virginia Dare Business and Professional Woman's Club. The scholarship will provide assistance for a female COA student, aged 25 or older, who resides in Dare, Currituck, Tyrrell, Hyde, Camden or Pasquotank County. The student applicant must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and preference will be given to women who are, or will be, enrolled in undergraduate degree or certificate programs.
The Pailin Nicole Cheeks Memorial Scholarship: The Pailin Nicole Cheeks Memorial Scholarship was established in partnership with the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (NEAAAT). The scholarship was initially established in 2018 and the funds were transferred to COA Foundation to continue the endowment. One scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded for academic years 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23. The scholarship will be awarded annually after the first the years in accordance with the COA Foundation board's approved spending policy. The scholarship will benefit a student graduate of NEAAAT who has a strong commitment to obtaining a college degree, while maintaining a 2.5 GPA.
The Sekender and Mumtaz Khan Endowed Scholarship: The Sekender and Mumtaz Khan Scholarship was established with a gift of $25,000 by Dr. Sekender Khan and family. The scholarship will benefit a student enrolled full-time at COA, pursuing studies in Agribusiness Technology or a science related field. Preference will be given to an international student, but applicants must live in northeastern North Carolina, show an interest in pursuing higher education upon completion at COA, and be in good academic standing.
Alumni Spotlight - Rena Jackson
It’s never too late to achieve your dreams and aspirations in life—and for Rena Jackson, this meant following through on a promise to herself to pursue higher education.

Rena Jackson, who is a New Jersey native, worked at a manufacturing plant in Edenton for a few years prior to the company's decision to relocate their operations overseas. When she was made aware that she would soon become unemployed, she attended a career fair at COA-Edenton-Chowan. She was offered a job at the fair, however she had an epiphany that led her to enquire about the programs the college offers.

After graduating from high school, Jackson promised herself that she would pursue higher education as soon as she was financially able to do so. She considered her time off from work as a second chance to attend college, so she decided to take the bull by the horns, and enrolled at COA without any further delay.

Jackson felt the timing was right. She focused her allegiance on crafting a future that was in line with her goal of becoming a Computer Technician. Jackson, who was in her 40’s at the time, was an active COA student. Amid the onslaught of difficulties that many college students face, Jackson deemed it her prerogative to be an advocate for students as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA). She was also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success—the nation’s largest leadership honor society. Jackson knew she had to make the best of her opportunities at COA so she never faltered on her quest for greatness. Her good academic performance placed her on the President’s list and allowed her to receive the Dean’s Award of Excellence among several scholarships and grants.

Jackson graduated COA with two associate degrees; one in Information Technology and the other in Computer Programming. Later, she pursued a Master’s Degree in Enterprise Network and a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems from Strayer University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Rena Jackson’s life did turn around for the better. She transitioned from being a student at COA to becoming the college’s Desktop Support Technician. Jackson also serves as president of the Staff Council at COA, as well as the communications specialist on the Alumni Association board.

Jackson is relentlessly guided by the mantra “If you are not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem.” Outside of her nine-to-five job, Jackson volunteers at the American BLANK, and she refurbishes donated computers and provides them to college students in need. She believes it is her purpose in life to assist others once she is capable of doing so, and she continues to encourage people, even in this time of uncertainty, to pay it forward with random acts of kindness.

Rena Jackson’s story proves that it is never too late to learn and build momentum on one’s dreams—next, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree.
Thank you to our Community Sponsors! Your support of the Foundation's efforts is vital to ensuring COA has a lasting footprint in our service area for years to come.

Become a Community Sponsor today! Visit here for more info.
Our 2020 Sponsors Are
President's Club
Dolphin's Club
Blue and Orange Advocates
Premier Partner

The Harley V. Cole Irrevocable Trust

Dr. Evonne Carter

Marion and Wilma Harris
Oliver S. Etheridge
William "Jeff" Spears
Lynn Hurdle Winslow
Friend of COA

Michelle Askew
Charles M. Byrne
Robin D. Harris
Mr. and Mrs. David Harris
Russell Lay
Michael Lopes
H. T. Sugg
Robin Zinsmeister
Performing Arts Center Sponsors

Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Byrne

Would you like your business featured? Call The Foundation office today to become a Community Sponsor!

252-355-0821, ext. 2263