Hannah Pearson is just 17, and already her goal is to become a licensed teacher for the State of North Carolina by the age of 19. Pearson graduated from Robeson Community College with an associate of arts and from Fairmont High School with her diploma. This week, she begins classes with junior status at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke, with her goal in mind.
Besides graduating at the top of her class as the valedictorian, Pearson was the only student from Fairmont to also earn an associate degree upon graduation thanks to North Carolina’s Career and College Promise Program (CCP) she started in 10th grade in 2020.
“The program really helps prepare you for college, and honestly because I took CCP, now that I’m actually going to a university, I feel more at ease compared to somebody just now getting into college,” Pearson said to robesonian.org.
CCP enables high school students in Robeson County to earn college credits for free at Robeson Community College. “It’s a free program which makes education very affordable for students. They can graduate from both high school and college at the same time,” Melissa Singler, president of Robeson Community College, said to WRAL News.
Pearson earned 60 college credits from the program, and she will now major in elementary education at UNC Pembroke. Upon graduation, she is looking at teaching kindergarten or first grade. Interestingly, Pearson’s mom Miranda McNair teaches at Fairmont High School, where Pearson graduated. Like her daughter, McNair was also valedictorian of her class and has been teaching for 28 years now. She inspired her daughter to be in the field of education and to learn to explore.
“She is self-driven,” McNair said of her daughter. “Even into foreign languages. She [says], oh, I want to learn a new language, so she’ll learn Korean, learn Spanish and learn Portuguese.”
Pearson, who is on track to be a licensed teacher in two years, said her advice to other high school students in the community is that they should never give up but continue to chase their dreams.
“Going through the CCP program, being able to graduate, and now being able to start college right at my major instead of having to worry about general education classes, and then also thinking about how much money RCC has allowed me to save, I just want to say that I am forever grateful,” she said.