Jocelyn Chadwick made quite the impact on teacher Audrey-Lee Bost when they met at the beginning of this school year.
Bost, leader of Vance High’s Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy, remembers the date: Aug. 26, 2014.
“She said ‘My name is Jocelyn Chadwick and I don’t plan to pay a dime to go to college,’” Bost said.
It was that type of confidence and spirit that made Bost believe Chadwick would be one of the class leaders.
On June 13, Chadwick will graduate in the top 10 of her class of more than 300 students, capping a senior year in which she embodied the mission of the Leadership Academy. She will attend UNC Greensboro and major in social work.
“It’s such an honor to be part of the Leadership Academy,” Chadwick said. “The first day of class, I wondered what leadership was all about. (Bost) said by the end of it we would be a family.”
Bost, Vance’s reigning Teacher of the Year, is a social studies teacher by trade but she has also been the leadership class facilitator for three years. Prior to the 2014-15 school year, Chick-fil-A University Place owner Rob Rogers talked with Bost about initiating the Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy, a national initiative of the fast food chain.
Bost selected 30 Vance students for the fledgling program. She accepted recommendations from the Vance faculty. Chadwick was endorsed by several teachers.
“At the beginning of the year, she was very shy and quiet,” said Bost. “She grew into a leadership role. She became the name and face we put on the leadership class because that’s her positive outlook in life.”
Chadwick says other people have always described her as an overachiever in school. She takes pride in being the first student to raise her hand to answer a question in class. That approach didn’t always gain her friends’ approval, she says.
“Some of my friends didn’t understand why I was so serious,” she added. “They thought ‘Let’s have some fun.’ But with most of my friends, I’m going to push you to do better.”
Chadwick says that coping with her parents’ separation and eventual divorce over the last several years is something she’s also had to overcome. She lives with her mother, Stephanie Chadwick; her father, Roland Chadwick lives in South Carolina.
Her older sister Abrianna, a 2011 Vance graduate, recently completed her degree at East Carolina. Fifteen-year old brother Josiah will be a Vance freshman next year.
During her parents’ separation, Chadwick and her siblings were the recipients of a gift-giving program at Christmas. Her experience inspired her to take the lead in the Leadership Academy’s involvement in a similar program this school year. She and her mother personally delivered gifts to needy families last Christmas.
In October, Chadwick was also one of the leaders in a project in which Vance’s Leadership Academy students (and other Charlotte-Mecklenburg students) helped pack over 39,000 simple meals for families through Feeding Children Everywhere, and international organization.
Usually once a week, Chadwick tutored students at Nathaniel Alexander Elementary, which is a Governor’s Village School like Vance. When Chick-fil-A held the Governor’s School 5K race in April, Chadwick was Vance’s winner of an accompanying $2,500 scholarship.
Chadwick says she is just $500 shy of reaching her goal of earning enough scholarship money to pay for her first year of college. She is still goal-oriented when it comes to graduating college and pursuing a career in social work. She envisions herself working in family and marriage counseling because of her own experiences.
“Throughout the year, she’s been our champion smile-maker in the Leadership Academy,” said Bost. “She was our leadership cheerleader.
“She’s the one who at the end of the day, reminds you of why you do this job.”
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.