PITTSBORO - The fast pace of a university environment isn't for every student, especially if he or she has experienced some difficulties in high school. That was the situation Bill Bourret found himself in when he arrived at Central Carolina Community College.
The Chapel Hill native left public high school to attend home school, and eventually received his GED in 2012. He is the first to admit that his enrollment in college-level courses at CCCC in the spring of 2012 was accompanied by more than just a little anxiety.
"I had a broken high school experience, and I truly believed that my dream of transferring to the University of North Carolina would not be realized," Bourret said. "It took a while for me to accept that my future would play out differently than I had imagined, but in the end, I am glad that it did occur this way."
Bourret said he benefited greatly from the college's small classroom sizes, peaceful and convenient campus locations and the personal attention of the faculty, including history instructor Robert Barnes and English instructor Kim Overcash.
"I remember Bill being highly motivated with definite leadership qualities," Barnes said. "He set high personal goals and worked hard to achieve them. Bill was an excellent student and I hold him in high esteem. Through dedication and hard work, he was able to excel at CCCC and achieve his personal goal of attending UNC-CH."
Barnes, whose teaching method relies heavily on inquiry, said he encourages his students to ask questions and requires that each student have at least three questions prepared for every class meeting.
"I also try to make education an enjoyable experience. If students are having fun, they are in a better state of mind to learn," he said.
Overcash said students like Bourret are the reason she teaches.
"I try to relate the course material to the students' lives," she said. "In addition to helping them to absorb the course materials, I try to create assignments that motivate them to think critically about the world around them."
In her "Introduction to Film" course, for example, Overcash was struck by Bourret's ability to identify and understand film and storytelling concepts.
"He built on this knowledge and drew conclusions about larger cultural values inherent in this mass media," she said. "There are so many reasons why Bill was an outstanding student. My general impression after every encounter with Bill was that he is a decent human being--a really cool guy."
Instructors like these and the personal attention and encouragement he received at CCCC helped Bourret transition into university life.
"I gained massive amounts of confidence and developed several close friendships at CCCC," he said.
At CCCC, Bourret was inducted into the college's Beta Sigma Phi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. He was instrumental in creating an "Ultimate Frisbee" Club on the Chatham County Campus, in Pittsboro.
After graduating with a Diploma in Arts in May, Bourret was accepted at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication with a track in graphic design. He is expected to graduate on time with his high school peers in 2016.
"Central Carolina Community College was just very accessible to me," Bourret said. "Coming off some anxiety problems I had in high school, getting into a large university was almost impossible. CCCC was my stepping-stone. It gave me the foundation I needed to sort of get back into the swing of things."
In a letter to CCCC President Bud Marchant, Bourret wrote, "I don't know how to express my gratitude to this college except by writing this letter. I am truly happy that a fantastic college like CCCC facilitated the first leg of my college career. Thank you."
For more information on what Central Carolina Community College offers, visit www.cccc.edu.
Bill Bourret, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student, credits Central Carolina Community College will putting him on the road to academic success in higher education. Bourret received his GED and Diploma in Arts from the college, and then transferred to the university, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication with a track in graphic design. For more information on what Central Carolina Community College offers, visit www.cccc.edu.