BBBSWNC congratulates these Littles who have graduated from high school – and from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Though many Littles stay in touch with their Bigs long after they age out of BBBS, all of them have benefitted from years of mentorship and friendship.
“They all had great role models that highly impacted their high school years,” said Martha Barksdale, program coordinator of BBBS Haywood County, said of the county’s four graduating Littles, the most the program has ever had. “I am so proud of these students,” Barksdale said.
Landon Bryson, a Tuscola High School graduate who has been influenced by the art world, plans to attend UNC Asheville. Layla Cothran, who excelled in woodworking, plans to study in Haywood Community College’s fiber arts department. Ryan Stuteville also plans to attend HCC, where he is interested in the forestry program. Ariel Saunders plans to attend nursing school at UNC Greensboro.
Photo from left, Landon Bryson, Megan Galloway, Ryan Stuteville, and Layla Cothran.
In Henderson County, Little Sister Libby Matthews intends to attend Blue Ridge Community College and then to transfer to a four-year college.
Matched since Libby was 12, she and Big Sister Barrie Christman have carved pumpkins, made a gingerbread house, and done homework together. They volunteered in a soup kitchen (even made it to the TV news), and as cat and dog cuddlers for the Blue Ridge Humane Society, which turned into job experience of a sort – Libby now works part-time at a doggie day care.
“The part we both liked best” over the years, Barrie said, “was being together.”
Nathalie Ramirez will be leaving Polk County this fall for UNC Chapel Hill, where she plans to work toward becoming a doctor. A Polk County High School graduate, Nathalie credited her Big Sister Susan Anderson for motivating her to apply for college. The two have been matched for 10 years.
“It’s something really special, sharing that bond,” Nathalie said. “Every memory is one I will cherish.” The two are closer than ever. Susan told Nathalie that she is “only a call away.”
Kayla Logan, not pictured, is also graduating from Polk County High. She and Big Sister Tara Atkins have been matched for almost eight years. Kayla plans to pursue a career as a flight attendant. She also plans to keep in touch with her Big Sister after graduation. Kayla’s mom said Tara will always be a part of their family.