NCC Announces 2023 Academic Excellence Award Recipient
Isai Perez Hernandez has been selected as Nash Community College’s 2023 Academic Excellence Award recipient.
As the recipient of NCC’s highest academic honor, he will represent the College among North Carolina’s 58-community college system. Each student selected for the award receives a plaque and medallion in honor of their academic accomplishments.
Perez Hernandez, 19, of Rocky Mount, is a “Super Senior” at the Nash Rocky Mount Early College. Located on NCC’s campus, students enrolled in the Early College take a combination of high school and college courses. Super Senior is a term referring to Early College students in their fifth and final year. Upon successful completion, they graduate with both a high school diploma and either an Associate Degree or two years of college credit transferable to a four-year institution.
“Being part of the early college has really shaped the person I have become these past five years,” Perez Hernandez said. “Managing both high school and college courses was never easy but the resources provided by Nash helped tremendously. The College has really helped me learn how to advocate for myself and how to seek help. From the college advisors to the tutors in the Math Tank to the Financial Aid office, all of these people helped me throughout my time at Nash.”
The instructor who nominated Isai for the award stated, “He is that student that every instructor hopes to have in class. He’s driven and focused with a passion to learn. In addition to maintaining superior academic standing, Perez Hernandez serves at the college as a Math tutor and also holds a part-time job.
“Being a first generation college student means opening the doors for future college students,” Perez Hernandez said. “I am showing people that look up to me that it is very much possible to succeed in life. Being a first generation college student is my way of paying my parents back for all their immense work and sacrifice.”
“Not only am I saving myself money through dual enrollment, I am saving my parents money,” Perez Hernandez said. “Coming from a family where both my parents are Mexican immigrants, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they have made to provide for my sister and I. To me it is only fair to alleviate their stress and worries the best I can to excel in school and save them thousands of dollars.”
Upon graduation this year, Perez Hernandez will enter the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a junior, with plans to major in Biology on a Pre-Med track. “My eyes have always been set on going into medicine,” he said. “After medical school, I plan on specializing in cardiology with my intent of being a cardiothoracic surgeon. Honestly though, as long as I am doing something in medicine and giving back to the community that’s given me so much, I will be happy with myself.”
He credits NCC with preparing him academically for the four-year university. “I would absolutely recommend Nash Community College to others, along with the early college program. I want people to take advantage of all the amazing things Nash does for their students and staff. This college prepares their students to become ready for the transition into a four-year institution or the workforce.”
Perez Hernandez has a 3.85 overall grade point average.