Four Students Recognized by International Honor Society and State Education Group for Academic and Civic Achievements
(Delaware & Chester Counties, PA • April 7, 2021)—Delaware County Community College students Victoria Wilson of Honey Brook, Guinevere Paviglianiti of West Grove and DeChanel Bailey-Castillo and Priscilla Kongo, both of Philadelphia, were recently recognized by the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society of two-year colleges and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges for their stellar academic accomplishments and unselfish community volunteerism.
Their induction into the All-Pennsylvania (All-PA) Academic Team, includes a full-tuition scholarship for two years to one of the 14 universities that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). All-PA scholars are named by their colleges to the All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, which requires students maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average (GPA), have completed at least 36 credits and be about to graduate with an associate degree.
Despite having had to abruptly adjust to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, each of the All-PA students was able to excel in academics and in community service. They will be honored by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges during a special virtual event broadcast April 15, Community College Day. The Commission’s in-person awards ceremony was changed to a virtual event due to COVID-19.
“Each of these students endured the uncertainty and upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic but was able to persevere, achieve academically and help their fellow students and the communities in which they live,” said Delaware County Community College L. Joy Gates Black, Ed.D.
Victoria Wilson, 25, of Honey Brook
A working mother with five young boys, who lost her job for two months due to COVID-19, Wilson somehow found time to be president of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s Beta Psi Pi Chester County chapter and serve as a peer mentor helping other students. With the help of her boys, she also led a neighborhood effort in Honey Brook to make and deliver meals to shut-ins due to the coronavirus; and she led a toy drive donation for children in her neighborhood last Christmas. For her academic prowess, community spirit and tenacity, she not only was named an All-PA scholar, but also is one of 50 PA Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team scholars, each of whom receive $1,000, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. In addition, the College’s Student Affairs Committee selected Wilson to be the College’s 2021 Optimist Award winner.
A history major at the College, Wilson plans to transfer to West Chester University and major in history, toward her first goal of obtaining a doctorate and teaching history. Her second goal, once her boys are finished school, is to earn a law degree and become a public interest attorney, an advocate for families, children and individuals in hardship. “As a leader, I wish to inspire, to build and most importantly to help others do the right thing,” Wilson says.
Guinevere Paviglianiti, 20, of West Grove
For Paviglianiti, acting and theater are ways to change society for the better. Despite having several health ailments and disabilities, Paviglianiti found time to excel in academics while helping other students as a peer mentor. A theater major, she also shared her love for theater with young children, teaching them the joy of acting. “I love working with people,” she says. “If I can make someone’s day better by teaching them and helping them, that’s its own reward.”
Despite some difficult family financial circumstances due to the coronavirus, Paviglianiti was able to stay in school with the help of a work study job at the College. She plans to transfer to West Chester University, where she intends to major in theater. “I want to be an actress someday. I want to inspire people to follow their dreams,” she says.
DeChanel Bailey-Castillo, 22, of Philadelphia
A computer and information sciences and support services major at the College, Bailey-Castillo, wants to transfer to Villanova University and pursue a similar major, toward her career goal of earning a doctorate and becoming a software developer or cyber security analyst.
At one time, she attended another higher education institution, but left to work full-time as a receptionist at a law firm to keep her mother and siblings from being evicted. She later left the law firm, enrolled at Delaware County Community College, joined the College’s LatinX Student Association and also became vice president of the College’s chapter of “buildOn,” a nonprofit that assists people around the globe. Through buildOn’s Global School Construction Program, she helped raise $2,000 to build schools in Haiti, while also holding down a work-study job at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Today, she is an IRS legal assistant, which has enabled her to live with roommates, instead of her family, and to support herself while in College. “I am ambitious due to my experiences in life,” she says.
Priscilla Kongo, 25, of Philadelphia
A native of Liberia in Africa, Kongo, a health care professions major at the College, plans to transfer to Eastern University, earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, become a nurse practitioner and obtain a master’s degree in a specialized area, such as family nurse practitioner. Her goal is to return to Liberia. “Growing up in Liberia, my home country, whose health system is not adequately built, and the lack of clinics and hospitals, we find it difficult to receive proper medical treatments,” she says. “Challenges the health sector face in Liberia result in many children and elderly dying from common illnesses and curable diseases…The required training will enable me to return in the future and provide meaningful contributions in the health sector.”
A member of the College’s Student Government Association (SGA), Kongo has participated in SGA events, such as cleaning the College campus and the streets leading to neighboring houses, and stress-free week, during which the SGA schedules events for students, such as tutoring, therapy dog sessions, massage chair days and popcorn meetings with the College president, to help students relax before taking final exams.