Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) student Tia Holmes has been appointed to USA TODAY’s All-USA Community College Academic Team.

“The USA TODAY award was a really big deal because I worked so hard on the application,” Holmes said. “I was actually surprised by it. Dr. Dukes announced it and I immediately started crying.”

Holmes, a Fort Washington native, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her career at PGCC. But in high school, she admits that she wasn’t serious about her academics. Holmes was always in talented and gifted classes, but didn’t take school that seriously. She was given a second chance and has taken full advantage of it.

“I wanted to reach a point where no one could tell me no,” Holmes said. “That’s why I’ve been striving for a 4.0 GPA, which I’ve been able to maintain, and got involved in as many extracurricular activities that I knew would help me in the future.

In addition to being a great student, Holmes is a member of the PGCC’s board of trustees and Publications Advisory Board. She’s also been the Owl student newspaper interim editor-in-chief, associate editor and lead graphic designer. She also interned in Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D.-Md.) office last summer where she responded to constituent concerns.

Her achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. PGCC President Charlene Dukes has worked closely with Holmes and says she’s setting a standard that all students should strive for.

“Chosen via an application process that included students from community colleges nationwide, Tia Holmes’ academic record, commitment to service and unwavering support of her community led to their selection,” said Dukes in a statement. “She is an exemplar and deserving of this prestigious honor.”

Holmes said the school has provided her with a fresh start and she recommends it to any student who’s looking to start over.

“My overall experience has been excellent and I would advise any student, especially students in my position who are pretty much given a second chance to do everything over, to go there,” she said. “I’ve been involved with the honors program and ever since I’ve been in the honors academy I’ve gotten the direction that I’ve needed.”

Holmes’ award was the latest high honor for the college. Dukes was named a Champion for Change by the White House last year for accepting President Obama’s challenge to increase the number of college graduates.

Holmes is one of only 20 students nationwide to be named to the team. In addition to being featured in USA Today, she will receive a $2,500 scholarship and a medallion.

Holmes also received the New Century Scholar award as the top community college student in Maryland. As a result, she was the keynote speaker at the All-Maryland Academic Team banquet on May 2.

Holmes will matriculate to the University of Maryland where she plans on majoring in communications.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO