By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director
For their performance in challenging honors courses at NTCC in relation to their peers, two Presidential Scholars will win $100 checks. Hope Kelly, an art and costume-design major, recently promoted to Presidential Scholar, won her award as an honors freshman, ranking number one in the Stat-Psych Honors Seminar taught this past spring by Dr. Karyn Skaar and Dr. Paula Wilhite. NTCC’s Dr. Jerry Wesson Scholar, Aaliyah Avellaneda, who finished this past May, was the sophomore who took all twenty-one hours of requisite honors courses, and ended with the highest GPA.
Kelly just finished her first semester in honors, rocketing from an unknown to first among her peers. Avellaneda capped her time at NTCC with an Eckman record—the first student in the history of Honors Northeast to win all four Eckman Awards for each semester, netting $400.
“We are so intrigued,” notes Honors Director, Dr. Andrew Yox, “with the work ethic, and acumen of Kelly. We had some great freshmen who have been winning intervarsity awards on the regional level, and suddenly this mystery, who has spent time with her missionary father Dennis, in Mexico, while being homeschooled by her mother, Brandy, has come to NTCC and wowed all her professors. As for Avellaneda, she has attained something like superstar status in the history of NTCC. She won our eleventh Jack Kent Cooke. We have had so many top students, but no one has so dominated their honors cohort as she has. And it was an excellent group.”
An anonymous donor has funded now twenty Eckman Awards at NTCC in memory of the late Richard and Joan Eckman. Richard Eckman was a long-time inventor for Dresser Industries, a signature Texas oilfield corporation. Many NTCC Eckman Award winners such as Verania Leyva (2019, 2020) Matthew Chambers (2017, 2018), Chesney Davis (2017), and Brenda Godoy (2016, obtained excellent transfers. Recently, 2019 Eckman winner, Jordan Whelchel, won a full-ride offer to Rice University.
Avellaneda is the daughter of Francisco and Blanca of Mount Pleasant. The Kellys have lived this last semester in Pittsburg, but may be returning to Mexico.