BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — Walk the halls at Brunswick County Early College High School and you’ll see the school’s mascot prominently displayed. The “firebird” represents rising from ashes to fly again.
That’s a lesson every ninth grader learns in Alise White’s “Freshman Success” program. Every student enrolled at the school must take her class.
“It’s a labor of love,” White said.
During our visit to the school, she was teaching students about the importance of creating a “vision board” showing what they want for their future. She also told them how referring to one’s vision board daily can serve to motivate and encourage a person to pursue their passion.
“If they see it every day, they will begin to believe that they can achieve it,” White said. “Everything they do everyday in these classrooms matters, every assignment everyday, is going to get them closer to that goal.”
Students and staff compare White’s class to “boot camp” and when it comes to their work, White says she’s not willing to compromise her standards or expectations for excellence.
“I care enough to tell you that it was horrible,” she said. “Do it again because I feel that I am making champions and I’m making winners and when you’re an athlete and you’re going for that Olympic gold medal, your coach is not going to say that’s pretty good. He’ll say do it again and again and again until you’re so good, you outshine the rest.”
A former student nominated White writing, “She’s a role model like no other.”
Because of White’s dedication to students, WWAY and Mattress and Furniture Liquidators, we would like to recognize her as this week’s — Teacher of the Week.
Since these students take college-level courses by their sophomore year of high school, BCECHS Principal Cheri Skaggs says its important for them to be determined and motivated.
“Ms. White is the teacher that students can look to if they need to believe more in themselves she shares a lot of her personal stories with students as far as how her career change over time, how she had to make some tough choices to make sure that her goals where met,” Skaggs said.
Listening to White lead class or interact with students is nothing less than inspiring. She even shares personal stories about overcoming adversity.
“Even when I stumble and have those bad days, I remember, I can do this because I want to do this because I’m an achiever and I can overcome and I want them to have that same spirit because if you don’t have that you’re going to lie down, you’re not going to move and your life is going to be pretty much over,” she said. “Be the victor, not the victim.”
There’s one really remarkable thing she does at the end of each school year for each of her students.
“I write a personal letter to each of my students letting them know how much they touched my life, every year, I have written over, probably by now, over a thousand handwritten letters to my students to give them more of a reinforcement that I believe in you and I know that you can and go forward with your dreams and I’m always here for you so that they have that support,” White said.
Regardless of these students’ home life or any struggles they may face down the road, they’ll not soon forget having White walking with them on this part of their academic journey.