Volume 3 | Issue 3
Fall 2011

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Learn more about the Carolina Covenant

CCAC helps turn steppingstones into milestones

By Hope Baptiste


Kaysha Lampkins ’15 of Eden, N.C., credits her CCAC adviser for helping her reach for and achieve her goals.

Photo by Dan Sears

An airplane flight. A public address to more than 700 people. Meeting her city’s mayor and other public officials. Traveling and being away from home on her own. Representing her hometown and state on a national stage. Completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Filling out college applications. Touring potential schools.

Becoming a Tar Heel.

What do these things have in common? They are Kaysha Lampkins’ milestones this year. One of nearly 4,000 freshmen to enter the UNC Class of 2015, the Eden, N.C., resident is quick to credit Brian Woodard, the Carolina College Advising Corps (CCAC) adviser at John Motley Morehead High School, with giving her the tools and self confidence to reach these milestones and achieve her ultimate goal: a UNC degree. CCAC is an arm of the National College Advising Corps, headquartered at UNC.

“When I was thinking about going to college, I didn’t think I had much of a chance to get in to UNC,” Lampkins said. “Carolina was my ‘reach’ school, but Brian encouraged me to make that reach, helped me put together a good application package I could be proud of and guided me through applying for financial aid and scholarships. I feel sure I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for all his hard work.”


Brian Woodard, CCAC adviser for Morehead and McMichael high schools in Rockingham County, N.C., 2009-10

Photo by Dan Sears

Woodard didn’t quite see it that way. “I was fortunate to work with Kaysha for two years while I was a CCAC adviser at Morehead [in Rockingham County, N.C.],” he said. “Kaysha did the academic work, but lacked the self confidence to tackle what she considered a monumental task on her own. I told her she had as great a chance as anyone of getting accepted to UNC but that she would never know unless she tried. I was glad I could help her get there.”

Lampkins said she really couldn’t believe it when her acceptance came and she learned she’d been chosen as a Carolina Covenant Scholar as well. “I was blown away,” she said. “I was going to my top school, and with the Covenant Scholarship, I would be able to focus on academics and worry less about finances. All the pieces just seemed to be fitting into place.”

Woodard knows that feeling, as he also “reached” for his Carolina degree. Now pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling in UNC’s School of Education, he transferred to Carolina via the University’s Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) from one of its community college partners, Alamance Community College. C-STEP enables talented, low- and moderate-income community-college students to transfer to and graduate from Carolina if they enroll at a community college partner and complete the program to earn an appropriate associate degree. And, like Lampkins, he was also a Covenant Scholar as an undergraduate.

Woodard said his experience with C-STEP convinced him to apply to CCAC to become an adviser. “I really could relate to everything Kaysha and many other students were going through in trying to decide what was next for them after high school,” he said. “Having been there myself, I could really say to them: ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’”

Though her future plans are only beginning to take shape, Lampkins said she wanted to return to her hometown or a similar area and dedicate herself to helping students like herself set, reach for and achieve their goals. “I don’t know if I will end up in instruction, guidance, administration or some other form of youth enrichment, but I can say right now that’s where I’m headed,” she said.

With CCAC and folks like Woodard, she’s certainly on the right track.

Rockingham County invests in CCAC for its future


Molly Norwood (right) is the new college adviser for Morehead High School in Eden. With her are seniors Mary Ward (left) and Chelsea Robertson. Norwood was trained by the Carolina College Advising Corps, an arm of the National College Advising Corps headquartered at UNC.

Photo by Rachel Wright

Success stories like Lampkins’ and Woodard’s fueled efforts by The Reidsville Area Foundation, the Rockingham Education Foundation and many other groups and individuals to look for innovative ways to navigate today’s tough economic times and create more opportunities for the future.

A major step toward that end is getting more high school students to pursue higher education.

According to the Sept. 29 “Greensboro News & Record,” good jobs that did not necessarily require a college degree have evaporated from Rockingham County and surrounding areas. Add to that the hesitation of businesses and retailers to locate there because of the high ratio of population with little or no college education, and prospects for future economic growth were significantly diminished. More education was the path to growth and jobs that were unheard of a generation ago.


Lee Niegelsky ’79


“CCAC advisers have been key in both identifying and encouraging more high school students to seriously consider a college education, and also in helping them navigate the application process,” said Lee Niegelsky, a 1979 UNC graduate, member of the Reidsville Area Foundation and a leader in the county’s effort to place CCAC advisers in every Rockingham County high school. “For change to occur, we must support public education, raise its profile and priority among our young people and come together as a county and region to succeed.”

CCAC’s model for a county in general is one adviser for two schools with the county covering half the cost, and that is how Rockingham County started out. But through the efforts of the Rockingham Area Foundation, Miller/Coors, Rockingham Education Foundation, Home Savings Bank, among others, Rockingham County funded an adviser for each high school.

This year is the first that all four high schools in the county are providing CCAC advisers. The goal is to serve low-income and first-generation college applicants and, ultimately, to change the cultural climate of Rockingham County.

The strategy seems to be working. Consider: No kids from Eden had applied for college during College Application Week in 2006. A year later it was 22. By 2009, the number increased to 583. In 2010, seniors from the four schools earned more than $17 million in scholarships, an increase of about 44 percent from the year before.

This year is the first that all four high schools in the county are providing CCAC advisers. The goal is to serve low-income and first-generation college applicants and, ultimately, to change the cultural climate of Rockingham County.

Today, with help from college advisers, the odds are good that Rockingham County will continue to see that students in every category have the chance to fulfill their dreams and, at the same time, change the dynamics of a poor economy in a difficult period to one of hope and success.

“We recognized that investing in the education of our young people, encouraging them to aim higher and giving them the tools to achieve their goals were critical to their future as well as that of our area,” Niegelsky said. “Now, we’re a leader in the state and I am thrilled to be a part of this evolution.”

This section includes excerpts from a Sept. 29 article by “Greensboro News & Record” contributing writer Rachel Wright, a 1957 UNC graduate, Eden native and retired teacher from Morehead High School and Rockingham Community College.

CCAC key to Eden’s selection as “All-America City”


Brian Woodard (center) along with advisees Emily Adams and Jesse Carter at the All-America City awards competition in Kansas City in June 2010

Photo courtesy of the All-America City Awards

The National Civic League recognizes 10 communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. Communities must demonstrate innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration by describing successful efforts to address pressing local challenges.

Eden’s application focused heavily on the work of CCAC. Lampkins and Woodard, along with several other area high school students, shined (video) at the awards program in Kansas City, Mo., in June 2010. They told their stories to a national jury of business, nonprofit and local government experts.

According to Niegelsky, CCAC’s success “sealed the deal” for Eden. All-America Cities gain increased community pride, opportunities to network with civic activists from across the country and national recognition. The AAC designation has helped communities win grants and new resources and attract new employers.

“Going to the awards competition, representing Eden and my school and supporting Mr. Woodard have been the highlights of this whole experience so far,” Lampkins said. “Now that I’ve come this far, I feel like there is so much more in store.”