NC Community College System Honors ACC Automotive Student with State Award

Lillia Kathryn Diez, an Alamance Community College student in Automotive Systems Technology,
was among a small group of honorees recognized by the North Carolina Community College
System for excellence at an awards dinner April 17.


More than 230 esteemed guests gathered at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC to
celebrate three students and five employees for community college excellence.


The event, emceed by Lena Tillett, Weekday Evening Anchor at WRAL, included three
award segments: Student Excellence, Faculty and Staff Recognition, and Workforce Development
Pinnacle Awards.


The Dallas Herring Achievement Award was presented to Lillia Diez of Alamance Community College (ACC), presented by Wells Fargo. The award, established
by the NC Community College System, honors 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 community college system.


In her prepared remarks before the audience, Diez credited ACC for changing her life.
“When you’re the one living through hard times, it’s just life. I didn’t realize working
hard to make a better life was something to be proud of until I started to share more
of my story with other people, who found inspiration in my perseverance,” Diez said.
“I feel incredibly fortunate, not only to be here tonight, but to have made the choice
to attend Alamance Community College.”


Diez enrolled at ACC while homeless and struggling daily to afford food. Despite tremendous
odds, she persevered to earn her GED and excel in the College’s Automotive Systems
Technology program. Even before completing her studies, Diez was hired as the first
female automotive technician at Cox Dodge in Burlington. While working toward her
Associate in Applied Science degree, Diez will concurrently qualify for the Automotive
Service Excellence (ASE) certification and Master Technician status. Diez’s career
ambitions also include studying for a degree in Fire Protection as a second career


ACC group, NCCCS Awards dinner

(Above) Attending the NC Community College Awards dinner in Cary on April 17 were,
from left: Dr. Ken Ingle, ACC President; Amy Scott-Galey, NC State Senator; Lillia
Diez, NC Dallas Herring Award recipient; Jenny Diez, mother of Lillia Diez.


ACC President Dr. Ken Ingle said he is proud to be a part of a system that provides
hope and opportunity for students like Lillia Diez.


“Lillia represents the best of what we can do for students at the community college
level,” said Dr. Ingle. “Those who enter our doors receive hope and a pathway to future
opportunity through jobs and additional education. What Lillia has achieved at Alamance
Community College is a meaningful real-life example of how inspiration and perseverance
can literally change the life journey for our students. She is one of ACC’s shining
stars who overcome adversity and challenges that most of us cannot imagine,”


“Tonight we celebrated the students, faculty, staff, and industry partners who play
pivotal roles in shaping the future of our communities,” said System President Dr.
Jeff Cox. “Community colleges are truly the heart of North Carolina’s workforce development
and it is an honor to recognize all of these award winners and their contributions
to excellence across our state.”