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Alumni Spotlight- Charles Keener


Charles Keener of Mount Airy graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Technology in May 2021 from Surry Community College. He will be attending Western Carolina University to pursue a Business Administration and Law degree. Because his credits will transfer from SCC, he will be able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May of 2023.

While at Surry, Keener was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and the President of the Paralegal Club.

He says one of his most memorable moments at Surry was winning the mock trial in Civil Litigation II class.

“My team and I worked very hard on the case, but we felt that we had no real chance of winning. The facts were simply against us. However, the jury in a trail is always a wild card, and they voted in our favor. The opposing team’s case was very good, and throughout the deliberation, I was texting my team, congratulating them on a job well done even though it appeared that we would lose. I was shocked when the decision came back in our favor,” Keener said.

Most of his classes were fun especially Criminal Law, he said. His favorite class was English-111, his first seated class.

“At the time, it was brutal, but Instructor Jon Thomas is an amazing teacher. I earned every grade in that class, even the bad ones. I learned so much more than how to write a paper. I learned that at 35 years old, I could go back to school and do reasonably well,” he said.

Keener would like to thank Lead Paralegal Instructor Selina Dougherty and English Instructor Jon Thomas for pushing him to do his absolute best in all his classes.

Keener graduated from North Surry High School in 2003. His wife Emily moved to the area from Maryland.

“My wife Emily and son Ehren became teachers last summer when I was in an online math class. Without their help, I would have never gotten through that class. I would like to think I taught them a lesson in perseverance and the creative use of swear words during the ordeal. I have had a lot of fun these past two years, and I am truly going to miss Surry. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I would like to end with a bit of advice for students. You can do this. I have wanted to give up every day for the past two years, but you can’t win a fight by throwing in the towel.”

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