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NTCC’s first Jack Kent Cooke reunion

JKC scholars from NTCC

Pictured (from left): Daniel Landaverde, Aaliyah Avellaneda, Clara Ramirez, and Brenda Godoy.

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

Unique among small colleges, NTCC can claim eleven Jack Kent Cooke scholars, all elected since 2010. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has conferred through the years, the most lucrative transfer scholarship in the United States with only forty-to-sixty awards each year. Today JKC scholarships are worth $165,000 for up to three years of study. They also come with the opportunity to win second substantial JKC scholarships when entering graduate school. To date, at least four NTCC scholars, Stephani Calderon, Brenda Godoy,  Clara Ramirez, and Jessica Velazquez have each won two JKC scholarships.

Last Friday in Mount Pleasant, for the first time, thanks to the donors of Honors Northeast, four former NTCC JKC winners came together. All four live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  They shared experiences with each other, and also told their stories to current NTCC honors students whose current trajectory and status resembles those of the winners through the years.

NTCC’s JKC alumni included, left to right above, Daniel Landaverde who now works as an associate for the world-leading brokerage firm of Marsh; Aaliyah Avellaneda, who is contemplating law school as a student at Southern Methodist University; Clara Ramirez, who just earned a Master of Business Administration at Texas Christian University, and Brenda Godoy who has just finished her first year of med school at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth.

The four had much in common in addition to a willingness to be in Mount Pleasant during a Father’s Day weekend. Each while at NTCC presented a scholarly work at the National Collegiate Honors Council.  Each published a work they had completed in Texas history at NTCC. Each were active in campus life at NTCC.  Brenda Godoy, and Daniel Landaverde took leading roles in Honors Northeast film productions. Clara Ramirez was the winner of NTCC’s second McGraw Hill Poster contest back in 2009.  Avellaneda conducted perhaps the finest student interview in college history after president Clinton arranged for her to meet former Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff in the Biggers Room of NTCC during the COVID fall of 2020.

The JKC alumni were joined by coming NTCC sophomores, Odalys Adame and Neida Perez, and coming first-year students, Perla Guzman and Vanessajane Bayna. Adame and Perez both compiled daunting GPAs and accomplishments during the first year at NTCC, while taking demanding courses in honors and the sciences. Guzman and Bayna ranked #2 and #4 in the 2023 graduating class at Mount Pleasant.

Those with questions about Honors Northeast, the honors program of NTCC, are welcome to contact Dr. Andrew Yox at  The program this summer is working on a film concerning the traveling preachers of early Texas. On the last Friday of August at noon, poems will be due to Dr. Yox, for those entering the sixteenth annual Northeast Texas poetry contest.

JKC group with Dr Yox
From left: Daniel Landaverde, Odalys Adame, Aaliyah Avellaneda, Neida Perez,
Honors Director, Dr. Andrew Yox, Perla Guzman, Clara Ramirez, Vanessajane Bayna, and Brenda Godoy.

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