HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The Cullman Times honored Wallace State Community College President Dr. Vicki Hawsey Karolewics recently as the 2015 Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
Karolewics was moved to tears during the awards ceremony for the Citizen of the Year and Unsung Heroes hosted by the newspaper at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church.
“This means a lot to me,” she said. “There’s no more important work than to take a child, or even an adult, wherever he or she is and show them the possibilities that are there for them through education and an encouraging word. I’ve always said the most important thing a teacher can do is put their hands on a child and say, ‘You can do this.’ It changes the world for them.
“We are only limited by the limits we place on ourselves,” she added. “I know that from personal experience. I love Cullman. I love Cullman County. I love Wallace State. And I appreciate the fact that one of the most important things I do is to surround myself with the great people in the world to work with. What Wallace State does is made possible by the members of our team.”
She also thanked her husband, Dr. Vince Karolewics, for his support of her work, and The Cullman Times for her recognition and for that of the six individuals who were chosen as Unsung Heroes.
David Palmer, editor of The Cullman Times, cited Dr. Karolewics’ leadership at Wallace State as a factor in choosing her as this year’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
“We all know the value of education in our society and in our community,” Palmer said. “It starts in the primary schools and goes all the way up to our colleges. I know from the experience that I’ve had in Cullman County, if it wasn’t for Wallace State Community College and the leadership that’s been there, a lot of the good things we enjoy just wouldn’t be here today.”
Palmer noted how the college provides a place for students on an academic track toward transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and how its technical programs train students for careers in industry.
“So the value of this kind of higher education, there’s so many facets to it, that makes our quality of life so good. It enables our industrial and retail development to occur and it brings us bright rising stars in our community.”
Dr. Karolewics also recently received the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lucile Galin Award for public service, was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Alabama, served a Bergermeister for the Cullman Oktoberfest, and was featured on the cover of Cullman Magazine.