Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
JACKSON – Dedication is paramount to academic success, but fear of running laps at 5 a.m. doesn’t hurt, either.
That’s how East Mississippi Community College student Tyler Stanley summed up his motivation to maintain a 4.0 grade point average, earning him recognition as EMCC’s 2013 HEADWAE student honoree. Art instructor Terry Cherry was the college’s faculty honoree.
HEADWAE stands for Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence.
Stanley and Cherry, a 26-year faculty member at EMCC, were honored recently in Jackson during the 26th annual HEADWAE awards and luncheon, along with student and instructor representatives from each of Mississippi’s 34 universities and colleges.
Stanley, starting center for the Lions’ 2012 football team, credited his coaches with giving him the extra incentive he needed to maintain his flawless GPA throughout his two years at EMCC.
“I have to thank all the coaches for really staying on everyone about going to class. It’s hard to roll out of bed and go to class some days. But it’s easier when they say they’ll wake you up at 5 a.m. and make you run if you don’t go to class,” said Stanley.
The Batesville native, by way of Meridian, will finish up at EMCC this semester before moving on to Mississippi State with his twin brother Luke, a member of the EMCC baseball team, to pursue an engineering degree. Stanley’s older brother, Bo, recently graduated from MSU with a degree in civil engineering.
During his time in Scooba, Stanley’s ability to balance the demands of academics and athletics earned the admiration of the faculty and staff. Athletic advisor Brittany Wagner-White worked with Stanley and all student athletes to ensure they maintain their grades.
“Tyler had a season-ending injury the first football game of his freshman year. A lot of times that will shake an athlete and cause problems in the classroom, depression and other issues. He fought through it and earned a 4.0 GPA that fall,” Wagner-White said.
“Tyler is a special individual and has so many wonderful qualities – just one of them being how intelligent he is.”
Stanley said he was especially humbled by the award, which is faculty-nominated, because he didn’t know he was being considered until after he was selected.
“I had never heard of HEADWAE. And I had a bunch of teachers congratulating me before I even got the news,” he said. “I knew I was doing well as far as grades, but I had so much going on with football and class, I didn’t realize everyone else was noticing.”
Terry Cherry, a native of San Antonio, Texas, is a graduate of EMCC and has been teaching art at the Scooba campus for nearly three decades.
“This means a lot to me. I greatly appreciate the honor,” he said.
Cherry was nominated by his peers for decades of unwavering dedication to his students and his work.
“Terry Cherry certainly exemplifies the characteristics of an outstanding faculty member. His award is much deserved,” said Dr. Thomas Ware, dean of instruction for EMCC.
“He’s highly talented and respected in his field. He is very much concerned with the success of his students and he is willing to go out of his way to help anyone at EMCC.”