Kayla Wiggins is a dual-enrolled student from Phoebus High School.
Among the highlights of Thomas Nelson’s graduation ceremonies, every year is the President’s and Vice President’s awards presentations. At this year’s event, set for 5 p.m. on May 16 at Liberty Live Church, a dual-enrolled student and a dental hygiene student will receive the College's highest awards for graduates.
Kayla Wiggins of Hampton was named the President’s Award winner, and Lauren Toney of Newport News won the Vice President’s Award. The awards are presented in recognition of exceptional academic performance. Criteria for the awards include a high cumulative grade point average, completing at least 60 semester hours of course work, and receiving an associate degree.
Wiggins is a dual-enrolled student from Phoebus High School. She enrolled in Thomas Nelson in fall 2020 and is earning an associate of science degree. Bound for Old Dominion University in the fall, she plans to pursue a degree in speech and language pathology and audiology.
She aims to become a speech-language pathologist and wants to earn a master’s in that same area, then a doctoral degree in neuropsychology.
“TNCC staff and faculty were very helpful and showed that they wanted me to be successful,” she said. “All of my classes have been challenging and pushed me to apply myself. Whenever I had an issue with the content I received, my teachers were more than happy to help. Thomas Nelson Community College has been amazing as a resource to assist me with my journey in higher education.”
She is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars, and the English honor society at Phoebus High. She was the senior class president, played soccer, and was in the marching band. She also volunteered at her church and with several elementary schools. She is the daughter of Le-zondra Alexander.
Toney entered the Thomas Nelson dental hygiene program in August 2021 and is expected to graduate in May 2023. She wants to become a registered dental hygienist. She earned an associate degree in social science from Thomas Nelson in 2021, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. She is the daughter of Ricky and Michelle Toney, and a Warwick High School graduate.
Her civic participation includes membership in a Masonic nonprofit organization for eight years, during which time she helped raise thousands of dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Smile, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Water is Life, and others. She was a three-time president of her local chapter and served as a leader of the Virginia state chapter.
“TNCC gave me the opportunity to access affordable education while I was still trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “In a time of uncertainty, the College gave me access to the tools I needed to succeed and I was able to find and pursue my career. I have had the opportunity to meet many classmates with different demographics and backgrounds than myself. It has been a great experience for me to attend TNCC.