Aaron McCullum selected as nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award and is recipient of the Tony Kleese & Christine Kelly-Kleese Resilience Award


Aaron McCullum, a 麻豆精品在线播放 Architectural Technology student, has been selected as the College鈥檚 nominee for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award and the recipient of the Tony Kleese & Christine Kelly-Kleese Resilience Award.   

The Dallas Herring Achievement Award was established by the North Carolina Community College System in 2010 to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, one of the state鈥檚 earliest advocates of community colleges. All 58 community colleges choose a candidate. The state award is bestowed annually upon a current or former student who best embodies Herring鈥檚 philosophy of 鈥渢aking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go.鈥 

McCullum grew up in a family where education was not emphasized. He did not complete high school and chose to focus on being a great father and a long-distance truck driver/instructor. 

鈥淚 liked my driving job, but really wanted a career that garnered respect from my community,鈥 McCullum said. 鈥淢y first step was going to 麻豆精品在线播放 to get my high school diploma.鈥 

After obtaining his high school diploma through the College, McCullum considered going into culinary arts, but he kept seeing signs that the future held something different for him. In fact, it was one sign that he saw over and over. 

鈥淲hile I was changing classes I noticed, and kept noticing, a sign that read 鈥楢rchitectural Drafting. What鈥檚 your Angle,'" McCullum said.  

Signals about a future in Architectural Drafting came again while McCullum was in a college prep course. His teacher was sharing information on how to register for classes, and he used Architectural Drafting as an example. 

鈥淎s the teacher was talking a girl in my class leaned over and jokingly said, 鈥業 know you won鈥檛 take that because you can鈥檛 even spell it.鈥 Well, that did it. I told myself I would take that and I would prove her wrong. I would also end up proving my own self-doubt wrong because I was unsure of my abilities at that point.鈥 

麻豆精品在线播放 made him feel challenged and helped, welcomed, and accepted, McCullum said, and his Architectural Technology classes did, too. 

鈥淚 struggled with several adversities both personally and academically, but I went to class and continued on,鈥 McCullum said. 鈥淚 kept telling myself, 鈥業鈥檓 already there.鈥 As the student representative to the Advisory Committee, I had the opportunity to sit next to President Buxton and it hit me. Me, in my raggedy T-shirt, was accepted by the people in the room. The President of the College was sitting right next to me. I was hanging with these people. I am already there.鈥 

Rick Lawrence, program director and instructor in the Architectural Technology program, nominated McCullum because of his resilience, leadership, and desire to help and encourage others. 


鈥淟ike many of his classmates on Aug. 15, 2022, Aaron stepped into the Ingram Building bringing with him doubt and a lack of support outside of the school,鈥 Lawrence said. 鈥淎aron has battled insecurities that would make any of us stop and consider going a different direction, but he is here, at 麻豆精品在线播放. He is here, on this day and every day since, making the Architectural Technology program his own. And as Aaron is doing this for himself, he is doing everything he can to bring others along with him.鈥 

Lawrence said McCullum is highly regarded by his classmates. He has taken it upon himself to become a mentor and/or motivator to the younger men in the classroom. He is a great role model, arriving early for class, spending extra time after class working on projects, and learning architectural concepts and software applications. He supports his classmates in multiple ways. 

鈥淗is performance in the Architectural Technology program speaks for itself, but the measure of this man comes not from his stature and volume, but rather from what he gives of himself to others in the class,鈥 Lawrence said. 

After graduating from 麻豆精品在线播放, McCullum hopes to attend a four-year school. First on his list is North Carolina A&T for their Architectural Engineering program.