UNCP honors top incoming freshmen at banquet
By Scott Bigelow
Henry, Onita and Wesley Gibbs of Cary, N.C., speak with Admissions
Director Lela Clark.
Some of the top scholars of the class of 2008 met at the annual Academic
Scholarship Banquet July 9 at UNC Pembroke.
Although they have yet to attend their first class, this group was
already being encouraged to give their best and get the most from the
"Be involved, but don't stop there," said Admissions
Director Lela Clark. "Being a leader is different than being involved,
and I am asking you not to be satisfied with just being involved."
"Don't just join a club or organization .. why not run for office,
maybe even president?" Clark said.
Attending the banquet were recipients of UNC Pembroke's merit scholarships
and family members. The Gibbs family and new freshman Wesley Gibbs traveled
from Cary, N.C., to attend.
"I enjoyed it, especially the speaker," Gibbs said. "I
am not sure what I will major in, but I am joining the (University)
Gibbs was accepted at NC State and UNC Wilmington, but said he chose
UNC Pembroke because it is a smaller school and has smaller classes.
Clark said the Scholarship Banquet offered a networking opportunity
for the students and their families. It gave them the chance to meet
the individuals who will be their peers for the next four years, and
it is also a way to pay tribute to some of UNCP's incoming students.
"These are students who were very successful in high school,"
Clark said afterwards. "We want them to take the next step and
be leaders here and for the rest of their lives."
Keynote speaker Lauren Merkel, a sophomore and member of the
University Honors College
Keynote speaker for the event was sophomore Lauren Merkel. Merkel offered
tips on making the most of the freshman year. From Red Springs, Merkel
joined the University Honors College
and ROTC in her first year at UNCP.
"Several of the other academic advantages here at Pembroke include
small class sizes, which place you in direct contact with your professors,
and tutors, who work to assure your understanding of any subject matter,"
"When I began college I was pretty intimidated by the professors,"
she said. "Professors are here to help students. It will also behoove
you to become acquainted with your professors. "
Merkel, a Red Springs native, said ROTC helped her confidence, and
she pitched the benefits of the University Honors College as another
helpful peer group. The Honors College offers many opportunities, that
for Merkel included a trip to Costa Rica this summer to participate
in the Model United Nations program.
The banquet paid tribute to what is probably the most talented group
of merit scholarship recipients in school history.
"Every year, it is more and more competitive for merit scholarships,
and every year the selection process becomes more difficult," Clark
And every year UNCP asks more of its students.
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