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Symone Teague: My Testimony
Upon graduating from high school in year 2014, I had no definite plan or knew what I wanted to be in life. I was still in the growing era, of learning who I was and who I could potentially be. The only thing I knew was that I was a child of God and that through him, I would find my purpose. So, I took the next step of action that I thought would help towards my progression, which was when I decided to attend college. I was excited that I was accepted into many colleges and if I had chosen to go, I would be the first in my family to attend; however, I was weary on how I would be able to afford it. I applied for numerous scholarships, where I was blessed with my first scholarship from the Chalis D. Sledge Foundation. They recognized my commitment to my church, my community, and to people in general. After doubting my capabilities but receiving a scholarship for just being the type of person I was, I realized I held an attribute that I must build on so that eventually I would develop into the person I wanted to be and one day be able to have a great impact on our society. I decided North Carolina A&T State University was the perfect fit for me, so throughout my college experience, I focused on my personal development.
I became an USDA-NIFA Elite scholar during my freshman and sophomore year of college, where I participated in monthly workshops, completed developmental activities, and actively listened to guest speakers on public speaking, leadership and personal development. Being a scholar, granted me recognition from the advisor, who saw great potential in my ambition and appreciation for the upmost respect that I had demonstrated, so she asked me to become her Undergraduate Research Assistant during my junior year. Serving as her research assistant for a semester, not only taught me great researching, organizational, and time management skills but it also presented the opportunity of being a mentor to newcomer scholars, who were inspired by the accomplishments that I had achieved and the future plans that I was working towards. Also during my junior year, I was voted into my first e-board position as secretary for MANNRS. In this position, I organized multiple events, exercised my leadership and organizational capabilities, dedicated majority of my time volunteering, and I also participated in the Public Speaking Competition at the National MANNRS Conference! After successful completion of my junior year, I was offered an internship with Frito-Lay. I had been working with Frito-Lay part-time since my sophomore year of college, so I was able to establish a personal relationship with the company and express my interest of possibly furthering my career with them after I obtain my degree. They examined my work ethics, my attitude, and my resume and decided that I would be a great asset to the company. My mindset, my patience, and my skills were tested; constantly having to prove that I belonged but I prevailed and successfully presented the results that the team was striving for at the Intern Report-Outs that was held in Las Vegas!
As far as now, I am currently in the process of completing my senior year. Throughout everything that has happened this year, I was planning for this specific semester simply because I am studying abroad in Ghana, Africa! I figured it would be a great experience to have under my belt and it would also be a great way to end my collegiate career. As I am writing this, I only have a few weeks left until I return home, which is a bittersweet feeling; however, everyone who I have met, will always be remembered and everything that I have learned will be applied to my life. This experience needed a paragraph of its own because I have accepted the cultural differences and have adapted to the environment; however, I have gained a plethora of gratitude for everything that I have back home. And I say this because, although I have accomplished many things, I have failed many other things and it seems that amid it all, as I was trying to become a better person, I was becoming everything less than and I had a hard time getting back on track. This experience has rebirthed my obligation to giving back, and to caring about others and their well-being. When I set feet back in America, I will continue to pursue my lifelong goal of beginning a nonprofit organization for the less fortunate (not money wise, but faith wise) to endow that confidence and inspiration that is needed to help them past that barrier that is holding them from their best self.
Obtaining my first scholarship was the stepping stone to my success, not only because it benefited me financially but because when I doubted myself, others saw the greatness in me. And because of that I worked hard to become the person I am today, and I am proud. I have changed my major, I have failed difficult courses, and I have given up once or twice but through it all, I've traveled, more than I ever have in my life, I now have a purpose that is greater than my gain, and I have succeeded in circumstances that were designed for me to fail. This is my personal success story and it is still unfinished. I am going to graduate on time, in May 2018 with my degree in Agribusiness and Food Industry Management! Who’s to say where I will be or what I will be doing next? I have been presented with a variety of opportunities once I graduate but I will hold onto my faith and God will bestow what is needed of me.
There has been unlimited amount of support and guidance that I have received over the years, so I want to show great appreciation and give a huge thank you to my advisors, mentors, colleagues, family and friends, and of course, Chalis and everyone who has contributed to the success of the foundation, for your deeds exemplify a blessing of its own.