Student stories

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Read Mikel’s story

Read Julie’s story

Read Dylan’s story

Dylan’s story

When we met Dylan, his school work and grades were suffering, he was having attendance issues and graduation seemed to be the least of his worries.  At the time instability in the home presented challenges that seemed too great to overcome and hampered his ability to succeed in school and in life.

Then walked in CISNC College and Career Specialist, Virginia Haynes with assistance from the Jobs for North Carolina Graduates program (JNCG).  She worked with Dylan and uncovered and nurtured his natural leadership skills and helped him to see the importance of his education and the value of his relationships with teachers and others around him in-school and at work.

Dylan is now a high senior graduating from the JNCG program. Even in the face of school closures due to COVID-19, he overcame his challenges and thrived inside and outside of school. He continues to hone his leadership abilities and his grades, attendance and his most importantly, his relationships all improved. Virginia was dedicated to Dylan’s success, delivering homework packets to him regularly so he could stay on track for graduation, even while school buildings were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dylan learned to balance a full-time job at Dollar General and the demands of his school work. In June, he will finally reach his goals and walk across the graduation stage virtually.  Dylan will attend a welding program at Blue Ridge Community College. As part of the JNCG program, Virginia will continue coaching Dylan for a full year after graduation, helping him carve out a career path and further define his future.

Congratulations Dylan.  We are proud of you and you should be very proud of yourself.

Mikhel’s story

A senior in the Halifax County school system, Mikel was an introvert by nature and naturally shied away from the spotlight. He struggled to find his footing socially and academically, at least until he met his CISNC mentor, Vernon <last name>.  That was the beginning of a process that resulted in Mikel blossoming into a confident young man whose future became brighter each day.

Mikel was never one to speak up in class, often causing him to miss important information.  He struggled to connect with his peers and his challenges as a result of issues with _________ combined to cause Mikel to internalize his issues that only made things worse.

Vernon got to know Mikel and helped him breakdown communication barriers, encouraging Mikel along the way and providing him tools and resources that helped him realize his full potential.  Mikel gradually began to speak up more and eventually gained the confidence to productively interact with his teachers and his peers.  According Vernon, “He’s (Mikel) bloomed over the year I’ve known him and has come out of his shell.”

“His leadership skills went through the roof!”, Vernon boasted as we watch Mikel lead the team in the school’s _______________. Mikel continued to grow and thrive at school, and will graduate in the summer of 2020! After graduation, he plans to attend community college for one year; then he’ll transfer to North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University to study Agricultural Science.

Way to go Mikel. We always knew you you would be a big success.

Julie’s story

It is not often when ambition, energy and confidence become a problem but with Julie, her involvement with sports and other extracurricular activities caused her grades to suffer.  As a senior multi-sport athlete playing volleyball, golf, basketball and running cross-country, Julie struggled to find balance between schoolwork and her extracurriculars. She excelled academically but had trouble managing all the activities she was passionate about while saving enough energy for schoolwork.

Then Julie met another team member and coach, Tia Evans, her CISNC Student Support Specialist. As hard as Julie is to keep up with, Tia found ways to help Julie focus her ambition and energy in the classroom and on the field of play. Even when schools shut down due to COVID-19, Tia delivered homework packets to Julie’s home to ensure she stayed on track for graduation. Not only did Julie’s GPA improve but she also became an ROTC Group Commander and participated in CISNC’s Leadership Academy. Julie became an all-star in school, in sports and in her community.

Julie graduates in June 2020 and she credits Tia and CISNC with helping her gain clarity about her future and providing her the support and motivation she needed to succeed. Today, that means a bright future with college around the corner. “CISNC was taking me to see colleges even before college was on my mind,” Julie said. We are proud of Julie as she is a rising Freshman at Chowan University, and is the recipient of a full scholarship – Talk about knocking it out of the park!

Tia sums it up best, “She is a fantastic athlete and all-around impressive young lady!”

Julie, you are a winner in all you do. Keep reaching for the stars!

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