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Published on April 23rd, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


MTC Hosts Annual College Honors Ceremony

Pictured from left: Destra Capers, Michel Ilunga Mukendi and Douglas Almena

MTC’s SC All-State Academic Team Members Among Honorees

More than 130 students were honored at MidlandsTechnicalCollege’s annual Honors Ceremony on April 17, 2014, on the Airport Campus. Each year, the ceremony recognizes students who have exhibited outstanding academic achievement or community involvement.

“The Honors Ceremony is a special occasion, a time when the college community celebrates the academic successes, literary talents and service contributions of our students,” said Dr. Marshall (Sonny) White, Jr., president of Midlands Technical College. “It’s also a time when we honor those students who have gone above and beyond what they were expected to do.”

At the ceremony, three of the honored students were Douglas Almena, Destra Capers and Michel Ilunga Mukendi, members of South Carolina’s All-State Academic Team, a program that recognizes the scholarly achievements of students enrolled in community, technical, and junior colleges. Only 23 students were selected statewide for this honor.

All-State Academic Teams are co-sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa International, the American Association of Community Colleges and USA Today. The students named to the South Carolina All-State Academic Team were selected on the basis of academic performance, leadership accomplishments and service to their colleges and to their local communities.

About MTC’s All-State Academic Team Members

Douglas Almena came to the United States several years ago from Brazil. Douglas had to learn English, and he did it very well. He has now become a student scholar and leader, with a 4.0 GPA in a very rigorous Engineering Transfer curriculum. Douglas is also provides outstanding service to MTC. He is an officer for the Student Advisory Board (SAB), serving as Vice President for Technology, where he has contributed to updating SAB online communications and web information. Douglas is also a Midlands Technical College Ambassador, assisting with in-service, college registrations, new student orientations and other key college events. Douglas is planning to transfer to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer or electronics engineering. Douglas also recently started work as a computer programmer and coder with a Columbia firm. Whatever he does, you can count on Douglas is to look for ways to improve technology and help others.

Destra Capers was recognized as MTC’s outstanding Human Services student at MTC’s 2014 Honors Ceremony and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Who’s Who in Community and Junior College students. Destra works as an EMT, and she has been involved in numerous services to the community. She is currently being approached by several colleges and universities and plans to transfer to obtain her bachelor’s degree in social work and eventually obtain her master’s degree or Ph.D. in the field of counseling or social work. She is planning a study-abroad trip to China this summer to learn more about social concerns in other countries and hopes to possibly run a non-profit organization one day. In Destra’s on-campus and off-campus activities, you can find her constantly striving to improve the lives of others. She is active within her church, Word of God Church and Ministries, as an assistant children’s church teacher and is a proud wife and mother.

Michel Ilunga Mukendi has a diploma in industrial electricity from MTC and is now working on his associate degree in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. He came to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo several years ago with his family, and is now a permanent U.S. resident. With a 3.9 GPA, a family and a full-time job, Michel embodies the attributes of dedication, strong work ethic, commitment and service to others that make him a model student. Michel says that in his home country, you might find 20 students sharing one old book and considering themselves fortunate to have this access to learning. Michel has encouraged his fellow students in the U.S. to take full advantage of the many opportunities provided through books, technology, schools and colleges. It is this strong appreciation and passion for knowledge and learning that has led to Michel’s service on two local school improvement councils and his receipt of a parent support award from a local middle school in 2012. He plans to continue his education to earn his bachelor’s degree and to eventually start his own business so he can further contribute to the community.



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