Student Success: Skye MalasigJan 12, 2022
Volleyball player makes history at RCC
Skye Malasig’s last-minute decision to attend Rockingham Community College led to making history.
Graduating with the Dalton McMichael High School Class of 2021, Malasig was unsure of where to enroll to further her education.
“Going into the medical field has always been in the works. My mom is a cardio technician, and my dad is a nurse,” she said.
“Keeping money in mind, I was planning to go to a four-year university and medical school. It was a lot of stress on me, knowing I was going to have my parents pay for all that, which they said was never a problem,” Malasig said.
But North Carolina’s Longleaf Commitment grant that guaranteed free community college tuition for two years for 2021 high school graduates was too good to pass up.
“When the Longleaf Grant came out for RCC, (I realized I could be) going to college for free, getting my associate degree for free, with zero debt. So I was like, why not?”
She enrolled about two weeks before the fall 2021 registration deadline.
It didn’t take long for RCC’s head volleyball coach to reach out to Malasig, just a few weeks before the season began. The student wasn’t interested, but Coach Carrie Wilson continued to contact her. Malasig finally agreed to visit a couple of practices to see how she liked the team.
“I came, really loved the girls, and never stopped going to practices and I was just on the team,” she said.
Malasig was no stranger to the sport. She started playing volleyball in fifth grade, on club, middle school and high school teams.
“I started playing because of my dad. He played volleyball in the military, and he always wanted me to play. I played soccer when I was younger, and then I got better at volleyball,” she said, adding that she needed to choose which sport to pursue. “Part of the reason, looking back, was to make my dad proud; I played volleyball for him.”
The beginning of the team’s season was rocky.
“Our center was out the first game. We had never practiced without her. We started practicing new lineups and I called one of my teammates from McMichael to play. She helped us out a lot, and our center came back,” Malasig said.
And the attentiveness of Coach Wilson all season also helped immensely.
“She personally touched my life,” Malasig said, explaining that they formed a good relationship quickly. “She cares about the players and their mental health more than their ability to put up stats on the court. She always makes time for every single one of us. Carrie made sure there was time for us. It wasn’t work, work, work.
“We didn’t get a win until the middle of the season, but once we got it, it programmed in everyone’s head that we can do this. We took off. You could tell there was a different mentality. We wanted to win because we knew we could win,” she said.
And it paid off for Malasig herself, when was named to the 2021 National Junior College Athletic Association Division III All-American Volleyball Team as an honorable mention. She’s the first RCC athlete in history to earn such an honor.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t know it was a thing,” she said. “I had gotten All-Region first team at the championship. It’s exciting.”
During the Lady Eagles’ 17 matches of the season, Malasig had 58 sets, 173 kills, and averaged nearly three kills per set. She also had 17 assists, 27 service aces, and 176 digs.
Academically, Malasig excels as well. She was named to the dean’s list for the fall 2021 semester.
Although she just graduated from high school in May 2021, she aims to earn her Associate in Science degree in May 2022.
“When we had the option to return to in-person classes at McMichael, I chose to stay at home. My senior year, I was in all classes at RCC because I was basically done with high school. I just stayed online. I was getting college credits in high school, so I will be getting my associate degree a year early,” Malasig said.
And she’s been able to stick with online classes, only coming to campus for volleyball.
“I love online classes; it gives me time to do it at my own pace. I don’t have to be here at a certain time. It gives me time to go to the gym in the morning,” Malasig said. “In person, you have to go by the teacher’s schedule. Online, you can be done with the class, if you really wanted to, in a few months.”
The soon-to-be graduate is already working out her future.
“I was planning to go to a four-year university after RCC, but when everything with volleyball took off, I wanted to play some more and come back another season (at RCC). The only way for me to do that while still following a medical career path was Nursing,” Malasig said.
“I guess I want to do something different from both of my parents. My original plan was dermatology, which I still plan on going into. I plan on doing Nurse Practitioner for dermatology, so I’ll be doing that after my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing),” she said.
For anyone considering higher education, Malasig recommends Rockingham Community College for its community and support.
“It’s like a safety net in my opinion, because you’re safe here. Everyone’s going to take care of you,” she said.
“Nursing was never my plan. Coming to RCC was never my plan either. Do what’s best for you. Just do you. If you think something is good for you, go and do it for yourself because I really feel like I would not be as happy as I am right now if I had gone away, and I would not have gotten the experience here.”