Wayne County Students Receive Awards At UMO

Wayne County Students Receive Awards At UMO

Several Wayne County students recently received awards at the University of Mount Olive.


Cristal Ambriz Huerta

Cristal Ambriz Huerta of Mount Olive received the Music Student of the Year award. She is a senior music education major. Ambriz Huerta has been an active performer in both the UMO choir and UMO Symphonic and Jazz Bands. She has performed in Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Pep Band, and Symphonic Band during her four years at UMO. Ambriz Huerta has also excelled in her music and education classes.

According to her professors, Ambriz Huerta has grown as a performer, future educator, student, and leader. “She shows a great deal of self-discipline, always considering what her words and actions will mean for herself and others,” said one professor. “She strives to learn because she is inquisitive and truly wants to increase her knowledge,” shared another.

The Music Student of the Year award is given to the senior music major who best exemplifies the ideals of a successful music major by demonstrating discipline and musical excellence. Selection criteria include: minimum GPA of 3.2, music major, academic excellence, professional service, outstanding musical ability.

Celeste Aguirre Oñate

Celeste Aguirre Oñate of Goldsboro received the Visual Arts Student of the Year award. Aguirre Oñate is a senior art major. Professor Cheryl Hooks said, “Celeste is a hard-working and determined student. She is creative and insightful. Her art work is reflective of her self-awareness and cultural sensitivities. Working with her has been a joy!”

Chair of the Department of Fine Arts Bob Murray said, “Celeste has been a role model for art students with respect to her skill and personal discipline. Her conscientious approach to her work will be a great asset wherever her journey takes her.”

The Visual Arts Student of the Year award is given to the senior student who best exemplifies the ideals of the successful visual arts major by demonstrating discipline, creativity, and integrity.

Sarah Barefoot

Sarah Barefoot of Pikeville received the English Student of the Year award. She graduated from UMO in December 2020 as an English major.

Barefoot was chosen for her intellectual maturity, great enthusiasm for literature, and her ability to generate meaningful art. Her senior research project examined her own family’s history in order to create a moving collection consisting of both of poetry and creative nonfiction prose. Barefoot is currently pursuing her M.A. in English at ECU. She plans to teach at the community college level after completing graduate school.

The English Student of the Year honor comes with a $100 cash award from Sigma Tau Delta. It is presented to the best English studies student, as chosen by the Language and Literature faculty. Selection critera include: 3.0 GPA or better, demonstrates intellectual maturity, possess excellent analytical and communication skills and who shows enthusiasm about the field by participating in extracurricular activities within the department, and/or reading beyond that required for coursework.

John Clark, Jr.

John Clark, Jr. of Goldsboro received the History/Social Studies Student of the Year award. He is a senior history major and a 2006 graduate of Rosewood High School. Clark’s interest is in history and archeology. His hobbies include woodworking, genealogy, amateur archeology, fishing, and kayaking. He hopes one day to make a permanent career in the field of history either teaching others in a classroom or working in the museum system. He has a 4.0 GPA and has been an outstanding student at UMO.

The History/Social Studies Student of the Year award award is given to an outstanding history/social studies student as selected by the Department of History and Social Studies faculty. Selection criteria include: having a GPA of 3.5 or better; academic excellence; professional service; and personal growth.