Jackson receives RCC’s Waymon C. Martin PTK Scholarship

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Waymon C. Martin’s daughter, Toi Gray, (left) and son, Hosea Martin, (center) present Randolph Community College student Cameron Jackson with the third annual Waymon C. Martin Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

ASHEBORO (Sept. 25, 2020)

Randolph Community College student Cameron Jackson was presented with the third annual Waymon C. Martin Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship in a ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 22, in room 018 of the Administration/Education Center on the Asheboro Campus.

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Gray talks about her father at the ceremony, which took place in room 018 of the Administration/Education Center on the Asheboro Campus.
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Randolph Community College English/Communications Instructor Clark Adams speaks to those in attendance.

English/Communications Instructor and PTK Adviser W. Clark Adams opened the ceremony with a brief history of the scholarship and biography of Martin, while Martin’s children, Toi Gray and Hosea Martin, were on hand to speak about their father, who passed away in February, and present the certificate to Jackson.

Martin taught Business Administration and served as Department Head of Business Administration at RCC, starting in 2001 and retiring in 2017. He was the adviser for RCC’s five-star PTK chapter from 2002 until his retirement. Martin and former Sociology Instructor Carol Savchack came up with the idea of the PTK Scholarship in 2007 through the RCC Foundation, which Martin later served on as a Board member as Faculty Representative for more than 10 years. The goal was to have the scholarship reach an endowment of $10,000, and, through annual campaigns, it was met in 2016. When Martin retired, the scholarship was named after him at the 2017 spring induction ceremony. The first scholarship was awarded in 2018 and it has been presented annually to PTK members who are full-time students with a grade point average of 3.5 or above.

“He was an adviser for us for 15 years and was the glue that held it together,” Adams said, noting the many community projects Martin spearheaded for PTK. “When we were looking for projects to do, he was always the first one to identify an opportunity. He could find a need quicker than anybody. ... We’re very appreciative of the vision he had in 2007 to get this off the ground. We’re thankful to have his family with us today.”

Gray then spoke, remembering a woman coming up to her at her father’s funeral asking, “How does it feel to have been raised by Waymon Martin?” The question inspired her the night before the scholarship presentation, and she recounted stories of her father taking her to the library for the first time, teaching her how to use the library and how to read a map when they went on road trips, and getting her back on track when she told him she failed biology.

“My father was always in education, always going to school,” she said. “I felt so good, so independent as a little girl that I knew how to go to the library, and nobody had to hold my hand and tell me what to do. I felt like I belonged. ... And when the [road] trip was over with, he would always just laugh and say, ‘Yeah, Toi brought us on in and she had that time just about right.’ That made me feel like I was so smart, that somebody depended on little old me to tell him how to get there and what time we were going to get there. I like the fact that he had the patience to laugh and let me know it was OK that I failed — that’s life, but then his message was, ‘You’ve got to get it together.’

“I’m glad that I had this moment to do that reflection and put all of those memories together in one bowl and really realize the impact my father had on my life. I really wish he were here so you could have met him. When he spoke, he was very colorful. He was really a great, elegant man.”

Hosea Martin added, “It’s an honor. I’m just glad to be here and do something for my father.”

The two then presented Jackson with the certificate. The Southwestern Randolph High School graduate is on track to earn a college transfer degree at RCC, hoping to then study computer engineering at North Carolina State University.

“I was really unsure of what I wanted to do when I got out of high school,” he said. “I wanted to go to school because my parents always told me I should try. There was a money issue, though. So, I came [to RCC] and learned what I wanted to do — the classes I enjoyed and the classes I didn’t enjoy. The advisers here really helped me out deciding a career path.

“I didn’t know Waymon C. Martin, but, after hearing the stories, he was obviously a great man. I’m so thankful to [the Martins] for supporting me in my academic endeavors.”