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For Immediate Release


Students Win Top Awards at NACCE FastPitch Competition

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, announced the winners of its national competition for community college students who are actively pursuing entrepreneurship.

Three Catawba Valley Community College students won three out of four top honors and cash prizes as they competed with students from across the country.

Winners were announced at NACCE’s Annual Conference, held this fall in Charlotte, N.C.

Winning first place in FastPitch was CVCC student Michelle Bernard. She was awarded $1,000 for her FastPitch presentation on her business, Spellcast Farm, which she plans to develop into an integrated, sustainable farming model to convert plant materials. Her system includes raising meat rabbits that have a unique ability to convert low nutritive value plant materials into high quality meat.
Bernard is enrolled in the Business Administration associate degree program and plans to graduate next year. She was a runner-up in the 2013 CVCC Shark Tank competition sponsored by the college’s School of Business, Industry & Technology.

Sebrina Brooks won second place and $600 for her business “A Peaceful Passage Transportation Service,” which offers reliable, economical transport services at the end of life. Brooks is enrolled in the Business Administration associate degree program at CVCC. She was a member of the 2013 SkillsUSA National Gold Medal winning team in Entrepreneurship.

Paul Fuselier won fourth place and a $200 gift certificate for his business, “Truck Stop,” which will be a full-service, destination truck stop for truck drivers traveling in North Carolina. Fuselier is enrolled in CVCC’s Business Administration associate degree program and was the first place winner of CVCC’s 2012 Shark Tank event.  

Joyce Mallery of Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount, Minn., won third place.

About FastPitch:
The first-ever Student FastPitch Competition required student entrepreneurs to develop a short presentation (approximately five minutes), in which they succinctly got their message across to potential “investors.” To enter, students had to submit an executive summary of their business idea. A panel of judges selected the best entries, which advanced to the semi-finals. Semi-finalists presented their FastPitch elevator presentations at the NACCE Annual Conference. This competition was generously supported by the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation and Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, N.C.

NACCE is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus.

Pictured (front, from left) are CVCC student winners Paul Fuselier, Joyce Mallery, Sebrina Brooks and Michelle Bernard, (back) CVCC President Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw, John Hennessey with the Hughes Foundation, CEO of NACCE Heather Van Sickle, and Head of CVCC Business Programs Gary Muller.


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Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator