Students Recognized for Academic Achievement, Leadership During Annual Awards Night
Nikasha N Dicks
/ Categories: Press Releases

Students Recognized for Academic Achievement, Leadership During Annual Awards Night

As awards were announced, Nakita Cleare smiled, clapped and even participated in standing ovations in celebration of fellow Aiken Technical College students as they received awards April 18 during the College’s annual Awards Night.

However, little did she know that by the end of the night, she too would be honored— with the George H. “Buck” Grant Award, the College’s top award. The award recognizes a graduating student who has at least a 3.0 grade point average, has contributed to the College through extracurricular activities, and has the potential to enhance the College’s image in the future.

“She has been an outstanding student,” stated Dr. S. Vinson Burdette, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, as he announced the award. “Her instructors describe her as demonstrating great interpersonal skills and engaged in classroom discussions—whether as an individual or as part of groups. She tends to be quiet in personality, but, as one instructor said, ‘her comments and questions reveal that she not only understands the material, but has also thought about its broader implications.’”

Reflective of her humble spirit, she smiled and repeatedly said “thank you” as accepted the award from Burdette; Lou Grant-Hartnett, widow of the late George H. “Buck” Grant; and ATC President Dr. Forest Mahan.

Cleare, an Associate in Arts student, currently has a 3.949 grade point average and will graduate in May. She will continue her education at the University of South Carolina Aiken this fall to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. After completing that degree, she plans to enroll at Augusta University to study to become a nurse practitioner.

As an ATC student, Cleare has exhibited determination, discipline and drive in pursuing her education. For much of her time at the College, she worked full-time while being enrolled full-time. She would often work a 12-hour overnight shift, leave work at 7 a.m. and come to the College for an 8 a.m. class.

She is also an active member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and is active in her church, playing the piano whenever she can.

Cleare is the second in her family to receive the prestigious Buck Grant Award. Her sister and ATC alumna, Victoria Robins, was the 2015 award recipient. Robins was also present to congratulate and celebrate with Cleare.

The Buck Grant award presentation culminated a night of notable Awards Night moments.

Among such moments was the awarding of Outstanding Student Awards to two ATC Early College students from Midland Valley High School. To qualify for the award, students must have completed at least nine semester hours, been enrolled at the college for at least two semesters, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, and be involved with extracurricular activities.

Lauren Shoup received the honor for Associate in Arts and Adriana Wood received the honor for Associate in Science.

Both students are seniors at Midland Valley and, in May, will be among the first cohort of Early College students to graduate from ATC with associate degrees. The ATC Early College program was launched in 2016 and provides an opportunity for Midland Valley students to begin working toward a college degree starting the summer before their sophomore year.

In addition to academic and leadership awards, the ATC Foundation awarded more than $60,000 to current students for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year.


  • Buck Grant Award: Nakita Cleare
  • Outstanding Student Awards
    • Associate in Arts: Lauren Shoup
    • Associate in Science: Adriana Wood
    • Associate in Applied Science: Mel’Lena Jackson
    • Business & Computer Technology: Cheyenne Young
    • Health Sciences: Sabrina Rich
    • Technical Education: Lydia Manning
  • Leadership Awards
    • American Welding Society
      • Lydia Manning
      • Raleigh Soles
    • Campus Ambassadors
      • Austin Byrd
      • Mariah Evans
    • Christian Life Club
      • Alexandra Holland
      • Michele Tabler
    • Lambda Nu National Honors Society for Radiologic and Imaging Sciences
      • La’Tia Allen
      • Cassidy Stuart
    • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
      • Shatonia Glanton
      • Mel’Lena Jackson
    • Student Government Association
      • Tina Marie Jones
      • Timothy Toole
    • Student Nurses Association
      • Stephanie Stewart
      • Emily Dixon
    • Student Veterans Association
      • Lisa Washington
      • Samuel Greenwald
  • Service Awards
    • Campus Ambassadors
      • Karen Beler
      • Austin Byrd
      • Mariah Evans
      • Samuel Greenwald
      • Alisha Knowles
      • Kyle Perry
      • Charlene Ricci
      • Lisa Washington
  • Outstanding Service Award (This award is presented to a student who has made outstanding volunteer contributions to the College, to the student body, and to the community.)
    • Samuel Greenwald



  • Aiken Lions Club Scholarship: Heather Hickok-Mahan and Emily Perez
  • Aiken Regional Medical Centers Nursing Scholarship: Davina Allen, Britteny Miles, Kristina Parrish, and Amber Wheeler
  • Amelia Grace Mottel Memorial Nursing Scholarship: Maggie Hightower
  • American Association of University Women Scholarship: Jodi Bruner, Savannah Coleman, Shaunte Davis, Jessica Elliott, Ashley Ferguson, Katie Freitas, Ingrid Guzman, Linda Hertzing, Stephanie Johnson, Ansleigh McIntosh, Heather McKay, Brittany Murdaugh, Alexandria Ortiz, Jennifer Powell, Kizzy Robinson, Michele Tabler, Pei-En Tu, Cheyenne Washington, Alexis Williams, and Leslie Young
  • Angela Watkins Memorial Scholarship: Taylor Field
  • Ashley J. Little Endowment Scholarship: Melinda Bradham
  • ATC Book Scholarship: Christopher Deese, Angela Harley, Jesus Magdaleno, and Wyatt McMahan
  • ATC Nursing Faculty Scholarship: Juan Aquino
  • ATC Presidential Scholarship: John Artis, Karen Beler, Summer Bowden, Brittany Burroughs, David Foisy, Emily Harley, Jereb Lindsay, Brianna Miller, Laura Pharr, and Mercy Workman
  • Bridgestone Americas Scholarship: Austin Deremigio and Aaron Sawyer
  • Bridge the Gap Sponsorship Recipients: John Artis, Kimberly Bishop, Janitsa Werts, Michael DeVivo, Abdullah El-Khalifa, Rashaan Hardy, Cassandra Kingsbury, James Petri, and David Thomas
  • Centerra-SRS Criminal Justice Scholarship: Antwon Bryant
  • A. Norton Endowment Scholarship: George Mahoney
  • Donald Bleasdale Memorial Book Scholarship: Theresa Borrusso
  • Energy Solutions Engineering Technology Scholarship: Krystal Plair
  • George Dickey Endowment Scholarship: Pamela Knapp
  • Henry Pickens Cato II Endowment Scholarship: Victoria Vining
  • Hilda Delionbach Memorial Nursing Endowment Scholarship: Gary Smith
  • Hospital Auxiliary of Aiken County Nursing Scholarship: Kyra Cerello and Andrea Schoolfield
  • Hospital Auxiliary of Aiken County Radiology Technology Scholarship: Kayla Rikard
  • Hospital Auxiliary of Aiken County Surgical Technology Scholarship: Brittany Rivers
  • James Greer Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship: Faith Zikusooka
  • Joe DeVore Scholarship Endowment: Eric Stamm
  • Katie Scott Memorial Scholarship: Kernesha Pixley
  • Marketing Scholarship: Adrienne Walters
  • Marlin L. Knight Memorial Nursing Endowment Scholarship: Jonathan Godbee
  • Mike King Memorial Paramedic Scholarship: Carl Culpepper
  • and Mrs. William Kolosvary Scholarship: Tihetena Wilson
  • Nancy Moore Thurmond Endowment Scholarship: Stephanie Napier
  • Nuclear Supplies Association Scholarship: Judith Cerda
  • Rogers Book Scholarship: Rachel Brown-Shelton
  • Rudy Mason Endowment Scholarship: Chaise Coleman
  • Sand River Women’s Club Scholarship: Lydia Manning
  • Susan A. Winsor Endowment Scholarship: Brandyce Thompson
  • Women of Woodside Scholarship: Brantley Greenwald
  • ATC Industrial Maintenance Scholarship: Matthew Johnson
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