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Each year, hundreds of college students from NC State’s College of Natural Resources and other area universities flood Bugg Elementary to participate in a special day known as College Bound.

College Bound was created in 2011 by Dr. Kimberly Bush, associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State, Michael Armstrong, former principal of Charles R. Bugg Magnet Elementary School, and Jessica Hook, physical education specialist at Bugg Elementary.

“College Bound stems from a diversity grant that I received in 2011 and then again the following year. I am a strong believer in the obligation a land-grant institution has to its community. Bugg Elementary School is a Title I school with over 70% of its students living at or below the poverty line. Many of the students at Bugg do not know anyone who has attended college, so a few years ago, we decided to bring college students to Bugg for a full day of mentoring in the arts, academics and athletics,” Dr. Bush said.

Tony Creecy Receives Spark Award

Tony Creecy Receives Spark Award

While hundreds of students have stepped up to participate in this special day, one student has stood out among the rest. Tony Creecy, sports management senior and Wolfpack running back, has been a consistent presence at Bugg Elementary and the College Bound events. So much so that the creators of College Bound recognized him as the inaugural recipient of the Spark Award. Not only is Creecy the award’s first recipient but the inspiration behind the creation of the award itself.

Without Vision, You Have Nothing

“Tony has volunteered at Bugg for the past four years. He has assisted with after school programs, the WolfP.A.C.K. program, the Fall Sports Festival, College Bound, and provided many tours on NC State’s campus to students from Bugg when they come to our campus. He has been a consistent role model to the students at Bugg and has never said he can’t help in some way. He has somehow balanced this with his academics, athletics and his own family. He is truly a hero!!” Dr. Bush said.

While accepting his award, Tony encouraged the children to follow their dreams. “You can’t go to college without vision. You have to envision yourself going to college. I remember I was in your same position, and at night I used to lie in my bed and dream about going to college, and dream about playing college football, and my dream came true. You have to envision yourself doing great things. Because without vision, you have nothing,” Creecy said.

The inscription on the award reads: “Spark Award, presented to Tony Creecy in recognition of his commitment to change a life, create a path, plant a seed, ignite a spark in every heart at Bugg Elementary.”