Western Piedmont Community College Students Take Top Honors in Statewide Essay Contest


Morganton, N.C. – For an unprecedented fifth year in a row, students in Western Piedmont Community College’s Paralegal Program have won top honors in the statewide North Carolina Paralegal Association essay contest.

This year’s theme was “Why I Have Chosen to be a Paralegal.” WPCC students won second, third and fourth place. Jill York, current Paralegal Association president, won second place for her essay. Ashley Anderson won second place and Brittany Suriel-Sanchez took third. Along with their prize money, all three students have also won free registration at the North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA) conference held in March.

“It’s a great honor for the program,” says Neal Bevans, program coordinator. “I’m very proud of our students. We really emphasize writing skills in our program and our students show that they know how to meet these high standards.” Bevans continued, “I was pleasantly surprised when the Paralegal Program did something that no other program has ever done: won a top position in the essay contest for five years in a row.” According to the NCPA, no program in the state, even the much larger programs, has ever matched this achievement.

Leslie McKesson, Dean of Business and Public Services, said, “WPCC’s paralegal program enjoys a long-standing reputation for quality instruction and the success of our students in this statewide competition demonstrates the strength of the program.”

The North Carolina Paralegal Association holds its essay contest every year and it is open to all currently enrolled paralegal students. There are over 20 public and private paralegal programs across the state. According to NCPA representative Charlotte Ward, students submitted essays from across the state. They are judged on an anonymous basis, with reviewers unaware of the student’s identity or which program they are affiliated with. Essays were submitted in early January and prizes were announced in February.

Western Piedmont Community College’s Paralegal Program is recognized as a Qualified Paralegal Studies Program by the State Bar and offers an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. A two-year program, the paralegal degree allows graduates the opportunity to become certified on the state level and to work with attorneys, corporations, governmental agencies and others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is projected to grow as much as 17% in the next ten years. Anyone interested in applying to become a student in the Paralegal Program should contact Neal Bevans at (828) 448-6044 (email: nbevans@wpcc.edu) or visit www.wpcc.edu/paralegal for more information.