• 45°

Black Leadership Breakfast explores pathways to higher ed

By Andie Foley
andie.foley@salisburypost.com

Slim crowds on a busy Saturday didn’t discourage attendees of this month’s Black Leadership Breakfast.

Hosted at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, the get together offered attendees chances to explore pathways to college for themselves and for the students in their lives.

Craig Lamb, the college’s vice president of corporate and continuing education, said he saw 10,000 people in the room despite relatively small numbers.

He explained.

“I believe in the power of networks,” he said. “Each one of you is this hub of a very powerful network. … I want you to not just take the information that you get today and think about what ‘I’ can do with it. Think about how you can be a messenger with that.”

Dennis Rivers, student activities coordinator with the college, agreed.

“As long as each person individually is winning, the community is going to be able to thrive even more so,” he said. “That way, it’s like a relay race. You’re passing the torch onto the next person, to help that next person, to help that next person.”

Breakfast goers would hear inspiring tales from college staff and community college graduates alike, as well as learn statistics and resources from different community organizations.

Subrina Hough, author and creator of Parent’s Point of View, Inc., said that the pathway to college started with encouragement and advocacy from parents.

She encouraged caregivers to engage with school personnel to make sure they were taking advantage of all resources available on the pathway to life after high school.

“Who’s on the team? Mom, you are their first advocate,” she Hough. “Besides them, you are their first advocate so you have to speak to what it is they need and ask the questions.”

One local resource comes in the form of Crosby Scholars, which program director Flora Calderon-Steck described as a college access program available for students in grades six through 10.

Clarissa Rankin, a mother who earned her CDL at Rowan-Cabarrus, spoke of the impact the license had on her life.

Previously, she was working two jobs with a bachelor’s in criminal justice to make ends meet. One of her sons had required multiple heart surgeries, causing financial strain.

By earning her CDL, she was able to find local employment making over $50,000 a year, she said. But it didn’t stop there: she and her husband started their own company.

“By June 14, 2018, we became J.C. Rankin Transport,” she said. “Not only (that), … but June 14, 2018, within my year of trucking, the job I worked for offered me a contract to haul their freight through my company.”

Opportunities like this were available for many, said RCCC President Carol Spalding— more, even, than the institution was currently serving.

At its peak in 2010, she said the school was serving 25 percent more students than it is currently. Everyone was unemployed and coming to them for job retraining, she said.

“That acceptance letter is going to be pretty simple from us, because, frankly, we’re an open-door college,” said Spalding. “We will place you in the place where you will be successful and help you work your way toward your goal.”

Crystal Ryerson, director of recruitment, spoke similarly.

“It’s about what do you want to do, then how do we get there,” she said. “Here at Rowan-Cabarrus we are … about meeting the students where they are, figuring out where they’re at, where they want to go and how we can get them there.”

Comments

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras