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Serving up a huge helping of gratitude this season at DCCC

The following is a monthly column from Dr. Darrin Hartness that ran in the Lexington Dispatch and the Davie Enterprise for the month of November 2019. 

With our communities  gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving and in the preliminary joyful tidings of the holiday season, I’m reflecting more and more on what I’m thankful for in life. I know my own journey has been particularly transformative in the past year, beginning my new role as DCCC’s president in January. Over the past 11 months, I am thankful for new friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime.   I am thankful for our public schools, community colleges, and universities that provide educational opportunities, enhance lives, and equip our students and citizens with skills to realize their dreams.  I am thankful for family who love and care for one another and keep us grounded in our purpose.  In 2019, I have witnessed and heard so many inspiring stories, experiences, and journeys of transformation taking place in our local communities.

From my vantage point as president, I have been amazed at the day-in, day-out commitment to success shared by all who step foot on our campuses. A college president can’t help but be grateful for the impressive work done at Davidson County Community College, both in the classroom and across our communities.

I’m grateful for the difference and impact made by the college as a whole, which includes our staff and faculty, students, and community partners. With the most recent performance report from the North Carolina Community College system, DCCC stands among the top in the state for providing both above average and excellence levels in seven key performance measures.

With 58 strong community colleges in our system, this is no small or quick undertaking. This success is only possible through the shared hard work of our dedicated and passionate faculty and staff providing students a holistic pathway to achievement, both in the classroom and across our campuses. It also takes inspired students focused and ready to meet and exceed their life and career goals. I may be biased, but I think we have the best students in the region. We all set out each morning to do our best and be our best, and it gives me such joy to see success not only in our performance measures, but on the everyday faces and attitudes at DCCC.

DCCC’s Day of Service also gave me a great amount of joy. On November 12, despite being a rather cold and wet day, over 250 of our faculty and staff spread across Davidson and Davie counties ready to make a difference. The day consisted of over 50 different projects directly helping the agencies and organizations that serve our communities. Project sites included schools, public spaces, community centers, nonprofit organizations, and so many more agencies and locations. No matter the task, as I went around our service district throughout the day, all of our volunteers had a smile on their face and expressed excitement in their service. I heard things like “the work itself was fulfilling and meaningful, but so was the time spent with each other;” “it felt good to represent DCCC in this important way;” “the services provided to people in need were really eye-opening;” and “I served in a place I would like to help again in the future.” I am so proud to work with such dedicated and caring colleagues.

At the end of the day, there’s so much for which to be thankful. I hope you can say the same during this holiday season as you take the time to relax, enjoy spending time with your families and reflect on our many blessings as a community.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with incredible gratitude for the stories, experiences, and journeys of you and yours. As we enter this holiday season, I hope you carry that gratitude with you as we shift from the warmth and accomplishment of the past year into the endless possibility and hope of a new year and new decade.