The Foundation of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute had two big reasons to celebrate at Tuesday night’s Dream Award ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

First, the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the innovative program, which ensures free tuition for local students to attend CCC&TI upon graduation from high school. Second, and most importantly, the Foundation introduced its 45 newest Dream Scholars.

Dream Award recipients are selected from among sixth-grade students in Caldwell and Watauga counties. Those selected must be first-generation college students who have demonstrated academic achievement and civic involvement, and who have the potential to succeed. The program, which is funded through private donations to the Foundation, has presented 1,278 awards since its inception in 1989.

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch opened the ceremony by welcoming scholars, their families and guests. “I’d like to be one of the first to congratulate you on receiving this award. Congratulations to the class of 2025,” Poarch said. He also recognized members of CCC&TI’s Board of Trustees who were in attendance for the event, and thanked other community leaders, including school officials from Caldwell and Watauga counties.

Peg Broyhill, Chairwoman of the CCC&TI Foundation, congratulated the group and recognized her fellow Foundation Board members and CCC&TI administrators as well as various county school officials, local organizations, civic groups, churches and clubs whose contributions help make the program possible.

She gave special thanks for endowments and grants made possible by the Broyhill Family Foundation, the Coffey Foundation, the Granite Falls High School Class of 1963, the Hogan Family Foundation and the Rose and Dwight Church Family. She also recognized Dr. Tony Deal, retired Executive Vice President and Vice President of Student Services at CCC&TI, who introduced the idea of the Dream Award 30 years ago and was in attendance.


“If there was not a Tony Deal, we would not have 1,278 Dream students,” she said. “What an impact he has had on Dreamers, their families and our communities in both Caldwell and Watauga counties.”

Dena Holman, Vice President of Student Services at CCC&TI, provided a history of the program and encouraged recipients to make the most of the opportunity.

“You’re now a part of the CCC&TI family,” Holman said. “We’re here to support you along your path to a college education.”

Holman then introduced guest speaker Monica Sicilia, who received the Dream Award in 2008 while she was a student at Gamewell Middle School. She went on complete degrees at CCC&TI and Appalachian State University. She soon will start a new job at Burke County Department of Social Services as a Child Protective Services Investigator, and more recently has served as a bilingual advocate for the Shelter Home of Caldwell County.

“You have to be a butterfly, you have to spread your wings,” she told the students. “It will open up a lot of opportunities and you can achieve all of the goals you have for yourself.”

The keynote speaker was Chrissie Dixon, founder of Cheer Up and Live!, who offered a message of positivity and making good choices.

To conclude the ceremony, Dream recipients introduced themselves to the audience and shared their career goals. Each received a certificate commemorating their award. A reception for recipients and their families was held following the ceremony.

2019 Dream Award Recipients

Esther Amaya-Perez, William Lenoir Middle School, *Dr. Tony Deal Dream Award Recipient
Keowen Arguello, Hardin Park School
Jayden Arnette, Bethel School
Dylan Auton, Kings Creek School
Hunter Auton , Blowing Rock School
Hailey Blevins, Collettsville School
Daisy Chue, Hudson Middle School
Abigail Clarke , Hudson Middle School
Jocelyn Cowick, Happy Valley School
Leyla DeCuesta, Mabel School
Sierra Deiters, Green Valley School
Wyatt Demster, Bethel School
Ryan Dunn, Kings Creek School
Feliciana Escalante, Gamewell Middle School
Daniela Euceda, Gamewell Middle School
Dorthy Farmer, Hudson Middle School
Anahi Gonzalez-Larios, Hardin Park School
Michael Greer , Green Valley School
Zachary Greer, Mabel School
Cameron Hall, Cove Creek School
Lilly Hang, Oak Hill School
Noe Henriquez, William Lenoir Middle School
Ricardo Hernandez, Gamewell Middle School
Madirose Hicks, Valle Crucis School
William Kerrigan, Granite Falls Middle School, *Debbie Yount Dream Award Recipient
Raelynn Killian, Happy Valley School
Emily Kissinger, Parkway School
Matthew Lebatard, Cove Creek School
Bethany Main , Parkway School
Jazalyn McBride, Kings Creek School
Shannon McNeil, Oak Hill School
Samuel Mitchell, Collettsville School
Larisa Muse, Valle Crucis School
Rayden Neibaur, Bethel School
Sarah Palmer, Happy Valley School, *Dwight and Rose Church Dream Award Recipient
Jacen Pope, Granite Falls Middle School
Josiah Railey, Hardin Park School
Ackiean Remigo, William Lenoir Middle School
Lily Setzer, Granite Falls Middle School
Rudolph Smith-Hutchinson, Oak Hill School
Shaun Tressler, Blowing Rock School, *Optimist Club of Boone Dream Award Recipient
Madden Triplett, Collettsville School
Zachary Walker, Gamewell Middle School
Chloe Wilson, Valle Crucis School
Trinity Wise, Kings Creek School