SPCC Donor Encourages Graduating Class of Union County EMTs with His Harrowing Personal Story

Walter Sprouse and his wife were traveling from their home in Asheboro, NC to Monroe last July when a truck crossed the solid yellow line and hit their vehicle head on. Their vehicle was wrecked and they were greviously wounded, but this story has a happy ending. 

Thanks to the quick thinking of two Union County EMS personnel, Mr. Sprouse and his wife were given lifesaving care and transported to a nearby hospital. Both of them were able to recover and Mr. Sprouse is nothing if not grateful. At the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of the Union County EMS Academy, he shared this story and a message of encouragement for the cohort of EMT graduates.

“I know at some point, you have asked yourself this question: can I do this [work] when it counts? When someone’s life is on the line.” Mr. Sprouse said during his remarks. “The answer is yes… just like the EMTs that worked on us, they knew exactly what to do. Their training took over. These emergency situations will be varied, but so is your training… when the time comes, you’ll know what to do.”

The Emergency Medical Technician Basic Certification program is an intense 5 week program that provides 244 hours of life-saving paramedics training. Each student who completed the program was employed by the Union County EMS department.

Mr. Sprouse did not know who the EMTs were that saved his life in that car accident in July, but he was given the opportunity to meet them during the graduation ceremony. The SPCC Foundation and Union County EMS worked together to identify the two paramedics who responded to the accident. As part of the graduation ceremony, these two Union County EMS personnel were reunited with the Sprouse family and formally honored for their life-saving work.

During the accident, Mr. Sprouse’s femoral artery was punctured and he risked bleeding out at the scene of the accident, if not for these two Union County EMTs. As a thank you for their work, he graciously made a donation to the SPCC Foundation which will allow the college to purchase femoral artery training kits for SPCC paramedic programs.

“This wonderful gift from Walter and his family will go a long way in helping our college train and support emergency personnel in Union County,” Dr. Maria Pharr said. “We are grateful for his gift and especially grateful that he shared his story to inspire our first responders.”

As he concluded his remarks, Mr. Sprouse reminded graduates that they are tasked with the job of saving lives, but that the job is also rewarding and powerful.

“One day, you’ll go home and someone will ask you: what did you do today?” Mr. Sprouse said. “You’ll say: I saved somebody’s life. I saved a life today.”

‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ Led by the SPCC Small Business Center Opens May 1

South Piedmont’s Small Business Center is leading the third annual ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition,’ an initiative that began in 2020 with support from Fifth Third Bank to provide anyone with an idea access to the capital, training and social connections needed to take an idea and turn it into a viable business.

Contestants will not only compete for cash awards they will have access to training resources and expanded networks to build social connections.  Training and coaching on pitching, financing, forecasting and general business will be available to every participant, even if they do not make the top 53. These free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont and Stanly.

“We are excited to host the ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ again this year and are thankful for the support and continued involvement of Fifth Third Bank,” said South Piedmont’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Renee Hode. “We are aware of the challenges and inequalities in entrepreneurship and this competition provides access to training, coaching, capital and exposure to propel ideas into businesses.”

To enter, individuals have 53 seconds to share their idea in the form of a video submitted at 53ideas.com. Round one is based on the idea. Contestants do not have to be pitch pros. They just need to share who they are, their idea, the problem it solves, how it is new or superior to an existing product or service and how they can make it happen. Judges will select the top 53 ideas and those contestants will move on in the competition to receive training to help them prepare a 3-minute pitch for the second round of the competition. Judges will then narrow the field to the top 10 and those selected will receive $250 before moving forward to compete in the Pitch Day finale.  The top spot will receive $10,000, second place $5,000 and third place $2,500 to help turn their idea into a viable business.

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship across Charlotte and throughout North Carolina,” said Joel Dancy, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Mid-Atlantic Region, Fifth Third Bank.  “We are very excited to again be supporting the 53 Ideas Pitch Competition because it not only helps in the short term with access to capital for the winners but also in the long term through financial education for all participants.”

Last year’s competition received more than 130 entries. Nicole Hawthorne was announced the winner for Jayla’s Heirlooms, a business providing handcrafted diverse dolls. Nicole went on to partner with Amazon, where her culturally diverse dolls are available for children and families worldwide.

To learn more and enter this year’s pitch competition by the May 31 deadline, visit 53ideas.com.

53 ideas logo 2

South Piedmont Students Learn More About Argentinian Spanish and Culture from Fulbright Visiting Scholar

On President’s Day, South Piedmont Community College hosted Fulbright Visiting Scholar Veronica Pellegrino as a virtual guest lecturer. Professor Pellegrino, who teaches at the National University of San Villa in Argentina, is a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Davidson Davie Community College 

Her lecture focused on the functional spanish and culture in her home country, Argentina as well as a special dialect: Rioplatanese Spanish. The virtual lecture was attended by approximately 30 students, who were able to join via video call from the Student Lounge or remotely.

“I greatly appreciated the opportunity to present to the students of South Piedmont,” Pellegrino said. “The Fulbright program is a great opportunity to share more about Argentinian culture and what makes our dialects of Spanish so unique.”

Director of International Education, Dr. Kira Ferris, shared more about the reception of the lecture and the college’s focus on international education being incorporated throughout all areas of the college.

“Veronica was able to engage our students and teach us about the local idioms and the phrases you would need to get the full experience of visiting the country,” Dr. Ferris said. “Our students seemed to really enjoy the program and we’re excited to provide more opportunities like these as part of our focus on providing international and global education in everything we do at the college.”

This opportunity was available to South Piedmont through the Office of International Education and the Fulbright Outreach Lecture Fund, which is part of the Fulbright Scholarship program backed by the U.S. State Department.

To learn more about the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit https://cies.org/.

What's My Path?