Honors Program students say hard work pays off
By Kesha Williams
May 14 was the long awaited date for 193 ECSU graduates.
Yet, the students who graduated with honors noted theirs as an exceptional accomplishment. Students participating in Elizabeth City State University’s Honors Program, now in its 34th year, say the program is one of the university’s most gratifying experiences. Many of the participants claimed the university’s top academic awards last month. Those who graduated with highest honors, high honor and with honor draped white cords atop their commencement gowns to indicate their stellar accomplishments.
Participants Jai'La Carmack-Carter and Dorothy Crumity said the Honors Program successfully brings together students who are driven to excel.
“Being in the honors program here has indeed been challenging. The program held me accountable for my own quality education. It has pushed and motivated me to be all that I can be,” Carmack-Carter said.
“I am in complete awe of reaching this monumental milestone. "
Carmack-Carter, the first in her family to graduate from a historically black university, declared her graduation will not be the last. She’s ready to assure younger family members, they too can excel academically.
“I want to encourage my siblings to get a quality education. I want to encourage the entire younger generation to believe, achieve and succeed. Understand that the limit goes far beyond the skies if you only believe.”
Crumity, a Plymouth resident who majored in biology, echoed her sentiments.
“Graduating after participating in the Honors Program motivates me. It showed me what I am capable of. I am super proud of myself and thankful for all those that pushed me to do better,” Crumity said.
“Honors students definitely had to do extra work, more assignments than the average student. This program helped me to develop time management skills and changed the way I think. It showed me I can do anything if I put my mind to it and manage my time wisely.”
ECSU’s is one of 60 Honors Programs operating among the National Association of African American Honors Programs, a national academic organization that provides honors students with opportunities to present scholarly research, network, debate, and compete academically. The Honors Program at ECSU is designed to challenge students with high academic potential at an accelerated rate and to provide them with exposure to a wide variety of in-depth academic, social, cultural and international experiences.
ECSU Honors Program participants said the rigorous academic curriculum and the thesis that is required of Honors Program participants pushed them far beyond the goals they set when they entered the university as freshmen. Crumity, the first of 10 children in her family and the first to graduate from a four-year institution, said she was looking forward to showing her Honors Program medallion to family members and friends.
“I hope all the young adults and children will be inspired by my graduation. Everything that I have been through and done was not only for myself but to uplift and encourage others. I plan to show others my medallion so they know that hard work pays off and doesn't always go unnoticed.”
Dr. Kenneth E. Jones, the new director of the Honors Program, said working with these students had been a rewarding experience.
“While no doubt serving as director of the University Honors Program has been very challenging, this has been a really great year. The best part has been forming cohesive relationships with the Honors scholars and taking great pride in their eagerness to perform at their best. I believe we have planted a good seed for the growth of the program and look forward to being even stronger next year.”