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Alumni Award Winner Karen Spruill

Overcoming Challenges – Empowering Children

Karen SpruillKaren Hester Spruill first came to Pitt Community College in 1990 to complete her high school diploma equivalency through the GED program. There were not as many options to complete high school then as there are today. She only had two choices, attend public schools while pregnant or attend Pitt Community College and complete the GED program and graduate on time. Karen chose PCC and found the GED staff both helpful and professional. The program allowed her to work at her own pace and as a result, she completed the GED requirements before the birth of her daughter in January. This gave Karen more employment options and opened the door to higher education.

In 1994, she began the Early Childhood program at PCC. Karen was an outstanding student in the Early Childhood program in academics and as a leader among her peers. Her energy and enthusiasm for school and learning was evident in and outside of class. Karen was the Early Childhood SGA representative and was active in SGA leading, among other efforts, a warm coat drive for children in need.

Karen was a substitute and part-time teacher at the PCC Preschool Laboratory and was later hired as one of the first infant/toddler teachers in the Model Early Childhood Education Center. She also taught classes in the Early Childhood program as a part-time instructor. 

She transferred to East Carolina University and in 1999 and received an undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Relations and received her Birth-Kindergarten NC Teacher Certification. In 2002, Karen obtained a master’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations and then completed a non-degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2009.

Currently, Karen is the successful owner and executive director of Carolina Support Services, Inc., in Greenville, which provides a variety of services to children with mental health diagnosis’ and/or developmental disorders.

Her experiences have taught her the value of education and the many opportunities it provides. Pitt Community College’s GED program has provided an education to many of the families and children that she has worked with over the years. Karen stated, “A typical school setting is not for everyone. It is beneficial to have the many options that now exist to help ensure that any one of any age from various circumstances and backgrounds have the option to complete their high school education.”

With her start in our GED program to her present career, Karen has demonstrated dedication to her field of study and a commitment to caring for children and families in our community. In the fall of 2011, Karen was recognized for her efforts and was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award by Pitt Community College. Throughout her educational pursuits and her professional career Karen has exemplified PCC’s mission to educate and empower people for success.