A student shakes hands with a person holding an award.
David Plasencia, the BCCC representative for the Dallas Herring Award, walked across the stage at graduation to receive eight certificates, diplomas and degrees. Criminal justice technology lead professor Crystal Watts presented the award.

David Plasencia-Garcia Nominated for Dallas Herring Achievement Award

David Plasencia-Garcia graduated from Beaufort County Community College with one of the highest honors at the institution, the BCCC representative for the Dallas Herring Achievement Award. This award was established by the North Carolina Community College System to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring whose philosophy of “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go” is the guiding principle of the system. The award is given annually to a current or former community college student who best embodies Dr. Herring’s philosophy. Plasencia graduated with three associate degrees, one diploma and four certificates.

Placencia is the third oldest from a family of 7 brothers. He was the first in his family to graduate college, starting at BCCC in 2016. Only 3 years later, and at only 18-years-old, he earned the following degrees, diplomas, and certificates: Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science Criminal Justice Technology, Criminal Justice Technology Diploma, Criminal Justice Technology Certificate- Essential Police Operations, Criminal Justice Technology Certificate- Basics of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Technology Certificate- Corrections and Criminal Justice Technology Certificate- Transfer Certificate.

As part of the Beaufort County Early College High School, he will also graduate with a high school diploma in June. The early college program lets high school students earn both an associate degree and a high school diploma in the span of five years. Students can choose to earn multiple credentials while enrolled in the college.

“He is so deserving of this award because to my knowledge, he is the first student in the history of the college to earn this many credentials in the time frame that he will complete it in,” said Crystal Watts, lead professor for criminal justice technology. “He is a success story not only for Beaufort County Community College but for the entire county. I did not know it was even possible to earn all of these credentials while working towards a high school diploma.”

Early college high school students must put their own initiative towards their college courses. Some students will graduate with only a high school diploma, while some will take the opportunity to push ahead. While the college works with students to ensure that their courses lead to a degree, the level of planning imitated by Plasencia exceptional for a high school student.

“In a sense, David has turned Dr. Herring’s philosophy right back around on us,” said Watts. “He has shown us, the college, how far we can go in helping students earn degrees that will put them to work.”

Watts saw his hard work first-hand. “One of David’s semesters consisted of him enrolling in 16 credit hours of upper level courses, including one chemistry class. He knocked it out of the park!” she said. Plasencia graduated Magna Cum Laude, a near-perfect grade point average. “His transcript speaks for itself on his dedication, determination, and intelligence.”

Plasencia accomplished these achievements while working 38 hours a week. He plans to work in law enforcement after completing his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and then enroll in the basic law enforcement training program at BCCC.

“He is a role model for his siblings as well as other students across our service area,” said Watts.