After 22 years of service at CPCC, Alice Carnes has retired from the College. She has left behind a legacy of dedication to the Disability Services department, CPCC, and the field of Disability Services. She will truly be missed by all who know and have worked with her. Below is Alice’s letter to students as her final farewell.
As many of you already know I have retired from CPCC. My last day at work was Friday, November 15th. I tried to make sure that none of you were “blindsided” by this news; but this is truly an im-possible task since I work with well over 115 registered students each semester. I wanted to say my goodbyes in this letter and especially to those of you who I didn’t get to say goodbye to in person.
So now I get an opportunity to reminiscence about my CPCC career, the College and perhaps to leave you with a few words of inspiration. My entire 22 years at CPCC was spent counseling in Disa-bility Services.
I came to CPCC in February 1992, when there was only one campus—Central campus. The tuition at that time was around $165.00 and CPCC was on the quarter system. The reason that I remember this so well is that I went to a community college in upstate NY. After I graduated from high school, I started my freshman year at Mohawk Valley Community College which was on the quarter system. The tuition that I paid at MVCC in 1969 was the same tuition at CPCC in 1992.
Well, it’s been almost 22 years since I first stepped onto Central campus. I’ve wit-nessed so many changes. So here are a few:
- The addition of 5 other campuses: Merancas, Levine, Harper, Harris & Cato.
- The development of many new AAS pro-grams: Occupational Therapy, Cos-metology, Surgical Technology, Geospatial Technology, Non Destructive Examination Technology, Construction Management Technology, Sustainability Technologies, Turfgrass Management, Simulation and Game Design, etc. I’ve worked with students who took classes in all of these programs.
- There has been a lot of construction on Central campus: the renovation of Sloan, Belk and now Citizens. I’ve watched Giles, the splendid Overcash building with the Halton Theater, the Levine IT, the Hall building, a couple of parking decks, and the culinary building rise out of the ground. And of course the new Van Every building which I’m hoping to tour someday soon, since I watched it go up outside of my office window.
- Today there more resources and/or more comprehensive services for students through: the Family Resource Center, the Transfer Resource Center, Career Coach, the Career Fair, the Aca-demic Learning Center, Man Up, TRIO, Service Learning and Student Life, just to name a few.
- There has been a vast improvement in CPCC’s technology with more on-line classes and on-line registration. Years ago during registration, the line of students snaked through the hallways of Central High (it was called Ga-ringer then) and around the side of the building and down Pease Lane. When Dr. Zeiss witnessed what was happening the College’s administration started serving lemonade to those students as they waited in the hot sun!
I would like to share with you some of my best CPCC memories.
CPCC had a Day Care Center on Campus. The students who studied in the Early Childhood program would have an opportunity to intern there, teach a lesson or do their observations. Many people in the community, CPCC staff and faculty had their children attend the CPCC Day Care.
At that time, the pre-school children would parade around Central campus at Halloween in their costumes. At Christmas they sang carols on the quad during the tree lighting of the giant pine tree.
Jimmy’s restaurant was on Elizabeth Avenue. It was easy to call in a take-out order or run over there for a bite to eat. It was a famous hangout place for students and CPCC employ-ees. It was CPCC’s version of Cheers!
Before Sensoria there was the CPCC Literary Festival. I was introduced to many famous authors and poets at this event. Irene Honeycutt who coordinated the Festival had a knack for finding writers right before they became really famous. After they came to CPCC, they would soon be interviewing on the Oprah Show and/or hitting the NY Times Best Seller List.
Persephone’s Festival was a day long event of innovative workshops for Charlotte women with an opening celebration of dance, singing and excitement. I had a wonderful opportunity to dance on the Peace Auditorium stage for the opening celebration!
Over the years, I worked at all 6 campuses. I remember pulling out of my driveway in the morning; I’d have to stop and think “now what campus am I heading to today?”
I worked at the brand new Levine campus and I heard a CPCC employee scream. She jumped onto her chair because there was a field mouse in her file cabinet.
I would take step, weight training or yoga classes during my lunch hour. When I was a runner, I ran up Elizabeth Avenue and through the Elizabeth neighborhood.
…eating lunch in the old Sloan building where the employee lounge had a bay of windows overlooking Elizabeth Ave. and several birch trees.
…seeing the red tailed hawk that occasionally flies through campus near the Terrell building.
…helping to create “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” (WAM) with a former student who coined the name of the event. WAM allows students to simulate a disability. The Physical Therapy Assistant, Human Services and Occupation Therapy programs collaborated with Disability Services and Student Life for a successful event that touches students’ lives in a meaningful way to create awareness about disabilities.
…presenting workshops over the years to dif-ferent CPCC programs, departments, classes, etc. telling them about Disability Services. In these talks I created awareness and taught CPCC employees and students about legislation that protects people with disabilities.
…attending and enjoying many CPCC theater productions, musical offerings, workshops, book signings, art exhibits etc.
…meeting and working with students who were focused and motivated.
…attending and cheering many students who worked with Disability Services as they walked the stage for graduation.
…working with so many compassionate and dedicated CPCC employees. All of these folks exemplify the old CPCC marketing tag line, “Changing lives one student at a time.”
…working in Disability Services with coun-selors and staff. These were the folks who became my “professional” family. We’ve been together for a long time and experi-enced: births, deaths, divorce, marriages, adoptions, illnesses, care taking older par-ents etc. We’ve supported and nurtured one another over the years. And for all of the kindness bestowed upon me; I am most appreciative. We’ve accomplished great things together and helped thousands of students with their academic goals. I will always proud of our efforts.
So, now it’s time for me to give some sage words of advice. I try to live in gratitude. I am grateful daily for all of life’s blessings. I believe that when people embrace the positive, that they will attract positive ener-gies in their lives.
As I close this chapter of my professional life I am grateful for the role I played at CPCC as a Counselor in Disability Services and I want to say, from the bottom of my heart,
If Alice Carnes was your assigned Disability Counselor, please contact the Disability