Seventeen Littles are graduating from high school right now, and their parents, guardians, Bigs and BBBSWNC couldn’t be prouder!
Though they may not be able to graduate in a room filled with people cheering them on, they leave high school with the support and encouragement they need to start the next phase of their lives.
Here are short profiles on some of these amazing people. Still more will be posted soon.
Little Brother Lake is leaving Glenville for a new life in college. He wants to “get through the first year of college and keep my grades good,” and then work for a nonprofit organization (or start his own). And if not that, then he wants to work toward becoming a tattoo artist.
“One of my main goals before starting BBBS was getting through personal struggles and graduating,” he said. “I was skeptical about the program at first, but I always ended up having a really good time with Kaleb,” his Big Brother for the last two years. “Kaleb made me not feel so alone in a town where there aren’t many people in our community.”
Kaleb Lynch is so proud of Lake.
“I see Lake starting a new life for himself and am hoping things work out with him living with his Mimi,” he said. “I see him getting involved at his new school, making new friends, and just learning more about himself and life. I think he’s going to succeed academically. But more importantly, he’s going to discover a whole new life outside of Glenville and his small circle of friends and his relationship.”
Kaleb hopes this won’t be his last piece of advice for Lake, but here it is: “We can’t control other people’s actions or words, but we can control the way we react,” he said. “Always think before you act or react and think about why you’re acting or reacting that way. You’ll save yourself a lot of drama and stress if you do.”
New Pisgah High School graduate Dwayne has enlisted in the U.S. Navy and leaves for boot camp on July 7.
Dwayne played on the football team and was a member of the JROTC at Pisgah High. He’s been with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2015, a year after he lost his father. Dwayne’s Big Brother is Bobbie.
“The program has helped me so much throughout my life,” Dwayne said. “It paired me with an amazing Big Brother who has been there for me through thick and thin. Big Brothers and Big Sisters is an amazing program. They’ve always motivated me to keep going on in life, always checking up on me and my Big Brother.”
Now, Dwayne is excited to begin his eight-year contract with the military.
“Thank you, BBBS, for everything you guys have done for me,” he said. “You’ve made a big impact on my life.”
Little Sister Precious is headed for North Carolina Central University, where she’ll major in nursing.
“Being in the program helped me drastically,” she said, “because I knew I had support from many different people which kept me pushing. My Big Sister (Kathleen Sandlin) literally means the world to me! We’ve been together for a long time now and she’s the big sister I never had. I can go to her for support/advice without feeling judged. I have a lot of love for Kat!”
Nearly a decade ago, Emily lost her brother and wrote a letter to Santa, asking for someone to listen to her, that appeared in the newspaper. Sallie Sompayrac read it, and the two met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cherokee County.
Thanks to her Big Sister and to the program, Emily is headed for big things, Emily said.
“This program really has helped me to become the person that I am today and inspired me to do more in my community and for our rapidly changing world,” she said.
“Sallie completely and utterly changed me,” said Emily, now a Big Sister herself. “I went from being a quiet, depressed girl who was scared of the world to now being able to stand up for myself! I have learned to be my own person and follow my own dreams.”
“I love Emily like she was my own,” Sallie said. “I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.”