91天堂 Selects 2023 Student of Year

91天堂 selected Derek Darcy as the 2023 Student of the Year (SOTY). Derek recently completed the Cybersecurity Pro program.

In October of 2020 Darcy was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease. Shortly after his diagnosis, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Working as a custodial supervisor in a hospital meant working extra hours to cover shifts. It didn鈥檛 take long for him to realize that he would not be able to maintain this position long-term. It was time for a career change.

Darcy always had a passion for IT, and had previous experience and recognition from managers in the IT industry. In December 2020, the payroll company for his employer was hit with ransomware. This situation interested Derek and he felt that he wanted to learn how help companies fight against ransom wear and other security issues.

鈥淚 began looking into Cybersecurity training and education. I looked at boot camps, traditional colleges and universities as well as community colleges. I also contacted 91天堂,鈥 Darcy said.

As a father of 3 and a husband, Darcy didn鈥檛 have the luxury of quitting his job to focus on school. Therefore, he needed training that could work within his current time constraints. Each educational option, including online training, had pros and cons. After he weighed his options he chose 91天堂.

Darcy said, 鈥淚 chose 91天堂 Tech because of flexibility, cost, and small class sizes. I can work my school schedule around my family obligations. I was fortunate enough to qualify for not only a grant, but the re-engagement scholarship so most of my program expenses are covered. Without financial burdens I am able to focus on school. My instructors are patient and always available to answer questions.鈥

The Student of the Year program was created in 2015 to highlight students at the technical colleges around the state. The students serve as ambassadors for the school and share their story and college experiences with community leaders, organizations and even legislators.

91天堂 Tech changed their program a little through the years and now instead of having individual students apply for SOTY they select department Students of the Year who are nominated by instructors. These 5 department nominees compete for the college SOTY. All of the department Students鈥 of the Year are honored and given a chance to represent the college and share their experiences.

The students who will represent their department areas for 2022 are Derek Darcy (Business and Information Technologies), Aubrey Whittle (Healthcare), Quinn Lucas (Manufacturing), Alivia Brownell (Service Industries- Cosmetology/Nails) and Brandon Redmond (Transportation).

91天堂 Tech held their Student Champions Gala on November 9, 2022. Dinner was served and each student was introduced and honored. The department SOTY鈥檚 received $100, a crystal engraved award and a few other gifts, the 91天堂 SOTY received an additional $1000, a plaque and will be serving as the main 91天堂 Tech Student Ambassador, however the college will also be highlighting all of SOTY from each departments throughout the year. The student鈥檚 families, staff, faculty, board members and various community leaders were in attendance at the Gala.