Helping our scholars get to and through college

lachelle1LaChelle Cunningham is the Dean of College Prep at Uplift Hampton Preparatory. She has served in this position for 4 years and has supported many scholars on the Road to College program. One of the most important aspects of her job involves staying in contact with Uplift Hampton Alumni. Alumni counselors across the network help Uplift alumni persist through college.

We met up with LaChelle to get some insight into her world. With an increasing alumni network, our alumni counselors are a vital part of the Road To College team and the Uplift network. Here is what LaChelle shared with us:

In what ways have you seen your impact on Uplift alumni?
My impact with the alumni is best seen through the visits and interactions I have with them during those visits.  The students truly love having someone visit with them and I enjoy seeing the campus through their eyes.  My visits are especially significant for those first year students because this is their first time away from home and the experiences they are encountering range from excitement to fear of the unknown.  However, for those students experiencing those first year jitters I am excited that Uplift Education has an entity such as the Alumni Counselor support for our students.  I believe our alumni really value this.

What drives you to be an alumni counselor?
It is already impactful to work with students leading up to their graduation from high school, however it is the full circle process of watching a student leave Hampton and to see their progression to the next step in their lives is what drives me to be an alumni counselor.  The success of our alumni is the reward for the work our teachers, staff and parents did for them while they were at Hampton.

What is the biggest struggle you have seen scholars go through in their transition to college?
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles that alumni experience in their transition to college is the social aspect.  It is sometimes challenging for students to either find a balance with being too involved with extracurricular activities or too little while making sure that their academics do not suffer.  When I meet with alumni I always want to know what activities they are involved in because it tends to make a difference in how successful they will be going forward.

What is the number one piece of advice you give alumni?
The advice that I always give every alumnus/alumna is that they must always stay focused on why they are in college and that in order to have the best college experience they have to be willing to be open to meeting new people and getting involved.  Although, it may be a bit of a cliché, I still tell my alumni that their college experience depends on them and what they put into college.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of my job is trying to help that student that is unresponsive or does not want help.  I have always found that students that are unresponsive are the ones who need the most help.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The best part of my job is interacting with the students and getting to know them.  I am in a unique position because I witness the shift of our students to adulthood.  Their maturity and determination is very different especially once they graduate.

Thank you to LaChelle Cunningham and all of the Alumni Counselors for all of the hard work they put in to help move our scholars forward!

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