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College Adviser Victoria Chavis speaks about her experience in college. Ms. Chavis serves as the Carolina Corps adviser at Purnell Swett High School.

Like many of her peers from Purnell Swett High School in Maxton, NC, Euna Victoria Chavis was the first in her family to attend college. “I was like a bumpy piece of wood, in need of sanding. Carolina was my piece of sandpaper–it shaped me into the person I am today.”

Ms. Chavis now works to help other young people realize the dream of going to college. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014 with a degree in psychology, she returned to Purnell Swett as an adviser with the Carolina College Advising Corps. The Corps places recent Carolina graduates in schools across the state to help students find the college that will serve them best.

From left to right: Jessica Oxendine, College Adviser at Fairmont and South Robeson High Schools; Ms. Demetrice Reed McMillan, counselor at Purnell Swett High School; Victoria Chavis, College Adviser at Purnell Swett High School

The Carolina College Advising Corps gathered on Monday with school and community leaders for a Celebration of Education in Robeson County. The event highlighted the work of Ms. Chavis and Jessica Oxendine, the adviser serving Fairmont and South Robeson High Schools. Last year, in partnership with the schools, advisers in the county served 645 seniors, held 1,148 one-on-one meetings, and helped 57% of students submit an application to college.

College Adviser Victoria Chavis with her students

Three current seniors at Purnell Swett spoke about the impact of Ms. Chavis’s work. “Without her guidance, I would have missed out on scholarship opportunities at my dream school,” said Dylan Brooks. Gabrielle James spoke of Ms. Chavis’s tireless work ethic, and fellow student Joshua Brooks said, “Her warm personality and knowledge of the college admission process have been invaluable not only to me, but to all of my fellow students.”

Legislators and community leaders joined in the celebration, including U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, N.C. Senator Jane W. Smith, N.C. Representative Garland E. Pierce, and Robeson County Schools Superintendent Johnny Hunt. Each spoke in support of the program which is helping deserving young people continue their education.

Director of UNC’s American Indian Center Amy Locklear Hertel, Miss Lumbee Candice Locklear, and UNC’s Assistant Dean for Student Counseling Marcus Collins

Also in attendance was Amy Locklear Hertel, Director of UNC’s American Indian Center. “Today exemplifies our service not only to education but to our native communities. Through rich relationships and partnerships designed to support our students, UNC is dedicated to assisting native students across the state.”

The event was hosted by Clyde Leviner, Purnell Swett Principal, and Stephen Farmer, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill. Vice Provost Farmer concluded the event by thanking the advisors for the work they do helping deserving young people take the next best step in their lives and by thanking leaders and community members at Purnell Swett and in Robeson County for giving the University the chance to be of service.

The work of the Carolina College Advising Corps in Robeson County is funded by the generous support of AmeriCorps, the John M. Belk Endowment, and the College Advising Corps.

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