Laterria is pronounced La-Terra. Although the "I" is silent, she is not silent when it comes to advocating for children in Charlotte.
She graduated from Central Piedmont in 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
"I believe that Central Piedmont is the best college in the country," Laterria says, "I am extremely grateful for the connections created during my time spent there."
While her degree prepared her for her career, being a mother to her five children inspired her to speak out against injustice in education.
Laterria works at Open Door School, a progressive preschool at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. Her work at the school also includes passionately advocating for early childhood education to those in government who would like to improve it, such as North Carolina Senator Jeff Jackson who visited the school in 2018.
In 2019, Laterria started a business where she offers support to families with childcare, home care, and adult care needs. She offers special support to other caregivers through a program under the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). She interned at the NDWA to learn how to advocate for issues that affect care workers in adult-care facilities and in childcare centers.
Laterria attributes her success to her faith. She is a member of Flowing Life Church and Outreach Center, and takes every opportunity to give back to the community.
She also values the community of educators she met during her time at Central Piedmont.
"I continue to stay connected with my Central Piedmont instructors," Laterria says, "we work to find ways to enrich the life of educators so they can speak up for children whose voice is often unheard."
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.
Few people have done more for the Charlotte community than Harvey Gantt. As Charlotte's first black mayor and Clemson's first black student, Mr. Gantt personally knows the power of education.
That's why this Black History Month he explains why he chooses to support Central Piedmont.
The rock band Metallica's All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH) has once again selected Central Piedmont Community College to participate in the second iteration of the Metallica Scholars Initiative a program that supports career and technical education programs at community colleges across the nation.
In 2018, the band partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), to select 10 community colleges from across the country that best demonstrated support of relevant jobs skill training for community college students. Central Piedmont was one of the 10 colleges chosen to receive $100,000. The college used the funds to help Central Piedmont students gain the training they needed to enter the workforce. These students became the college's first cohort of Metallica Scholars.
Year two of the Metallica Scholars Initiative:
- awards a $50,000 grant to the original 10 colleges, and challenges each institution to match the grant amount. As a result, the overall grant investment in career and technical education at each college will total $100,000.
- includes expanding the program in 2020 from 10 to 15 schools. The five new community college partners will each receive a $100,000 grant, making AWMH's cumulative contribution $1.5 million.
"We are proud to report that 80 percent of our Metallica Scholars who were scheduled to graduate in the 2019 spring and summer semesters were successful," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "The Metallica Scholars Initiative is transforming lives, providing students with the financial assistance and support services they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom."
Central Piedmont will continue to use the grant funds to provide direct support for students enrolled in one of four healthcare career programs but who need financial assistance to complete their studies and become licensed healthcare professionals. The project will continue to focus on high-demand healthcare programs, including dental assisting, medical assisting, ophthalmic medical personnel, and pharmacy technology, and will target underrepresented students who would not be able to complete their program or obtain credentials without financial support. The goal of the initiative is to ensure students receive relevant jobs skills that will make them competitive in the healthcare field.
AWMH works closely with AACC to implement and manage the program. Recipient colleges of the group's 2020 $1,500,000 grant are all AACC members and are located in communities visited by Metallica during its recent U.S. tour.
Karla Chavez's educational aspirations were sparked in the home and nourished by Central Piedmont.
Her father's passion for learning inspired this first generation graduate to reach for the stars. "With the little formal education he had, my dad went back to school and obtained his HVAC license. He was always reading engineering books when I was growing up," she explained. "I fell in love with engineering because you can engineer anything you can think of."
Karla was also driven by what she saw as a lack of women in the field. "Society tends to steer us away from STEM fields and toward more 'caregiving' fields," she said, "I want to share these fields with other women like myself so we can make a difference in our communities and all over the world."
With a vision in place, she attended Central Piedmont to complete her GED and eventually completed both an A.A. (2017) and A.A.S. in Construction Management Technology (2018).
Karla credits Central Piedmont for offering the support she needed to succeed. "When I attended Central Piedmont, I was a non-traditional student who was juggling multiple responsibilities and many life-events that changed my life forever. Yet, I found so many people who never stopped believing in me," she said. "Every faculty member, instructor, and classmate became more than just a familiar face. The support I received at Central Piedmont was powerful."
Today, Karla Chavez wears many different hats. She is a mother, a caregiver, a project coordinator at a construction company, an active member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and student at UNC Charlotte in pursuit of her bachelor's degree with plans to obtain her masters.
"Central Piedmont helped me see myself in a place that I couldn't before," says Student Government Vice President and Opportunity Scholar Yeisha Calderon.
Your gift to the Central Piedmont Foundation powers a stronger future for students like Yeisha every day. Listen to her story below.
To donate, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/donation.
To learn more about Powering A Stronger Future, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign.
Steele's Mechanical, a mechanical contracting firm based in Lancaster, S.C., presented the Central Piedmont Foundation with a $50,000 gift on Dec. 19, to support scholarships for student veterans at the college. Steele's Mechanical President Dan Bailey, a Central Piedmont alumnus and U.S. veteran, visited the college's Central Campus to present the check to Dr. Kevin McCarthy, vice president for institutional advancement, and Aimee Brunton, director of development for Central Piedmont.
"As a U.S. veteran, I understand the financial difficulties student veterans face when trying to identify the funding needed to pay for college," said Bailey. "When I was a student, I saw several of my fellow veterans leave school because they couldn't afford it even with GI Bill assistance. That's why Steele's Mechanical decided to host a charity golf tournament this fall, to generate the scholarship funding needed to ensure Central Piedmont's student veterans receive the financial aid they need to complete their education without worrying about going into debt."
The monies gifted to the college were raised during the company's inaugural Nov. 6 charity golf tournament, held at Springfield Golf and Country Club, in Fort Mill, S.C. More than 120 players attended the event, which raised $25,000 for student veteran scholarships. Thanks to Steele's Mechanical overall gift match, the final gift totaled $50,000.
Bailey and his family have a rich history with Central Piedmont. Bailey's father, James, was an employee at Central Piedmont from 1977-2012. It was this early exposure to Central Piedmont that spurred Bailey to enroll at the college in 2010 after serving as a construction engineer and paratrooper in the U.S. Army from 1999-2005. As a member of the student body, Bailey was active in the college's student veteran's association, serving as its president in 2010 and 2011; participated in Phi Theta Kappa; and coached Central Piedmont's soccer team. He graduated from Central Piedmont in 2012 with an Associate in Applied Science degree.
"It's rewarding to see alumni, like Dan, giving back to their alma mater in such a meaningful way," said McCarthy. "His company's gift will help our student veterans overcome the financial barriers that stand in their way of achieving the personal and professional success they deserve."
To learn more about giving opportunities at Central Piedmont, please visit cpccfoundation.org/giving/ways-to-give-outright-gifts. Read more
Laura and James Bazán have each taught at Central Piedmont for over 20 years. During that time, they've seen countless students make real change in their lives and the lives of their families.
"Central Piedmont is a place where potential and possibility work hand-in-hand to create something new," Laura said.
James and Laura are inspired to give back to the college not only because of the students they see striving toward a stronger future each day, but also because of their own life experiences.
"I started college as a 32-year-old carpenter," James said, "My teachers showed me doors where I had only seen walls. It is an honor to be able to do that for others."
"Being philanthropic is important to me because someone gave to me when I started college. I come from a small farming community in Ohio. There was no way I could have gone to college if it weren't for the scholarships I received," Laura recalled. "Those people had faith in me, just as I have faith in the students who come to Central Piedmont."
Laura and James' contributions to the Central Piedmont Foundation are an investment in the next generation of students who are working toward a stronger future.
You can give today by visiting cpccfoundation.org/giving/faculty-staff.
Do you know a Central Piedmont Community College graduate who is making a tremendous difference in the community? Nominations are currently being sought for the 2020 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and the 2020 Young Alumni Award of Excellence. These awards recognize Central Piedmont graduates who have significantly benefited from their experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community.
Nominations are being sought for individuals who have:
- demonstrated community involvement/professional involvement, social responsibility and impact
- acquired scholastic and learning skills that have led to continued personal and educational growth
- improved his or her economic status and social capital as a result of attending Central Piedmont
- invested in the lives of others and is seen as a role model
- graduated within the last 10 years (Young Alumni Award of Excellence only)
Individuals interested in applying should note:
- attendance at graduation is preferred
- political candidates may not be selected or honored in a year in which they are actively pursuing election or re-election
The college will recognize this year's winners at Central Piedmont's commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and a one-year scholarship will be granted to a Central Piedmont student in an area of study reflective of the winner's background.
Nomination forms are available on the Central Piedmont website.
Completed nomination forms should be submitted online; or mailed to Christa Newkirk, Office of Alumni Relations, P.O. Box 35009, Charlotte, NC, 28235. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Christa Newkirk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704.330.6808.
The Fifth Third Bank Foundation has announced its 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants for North Carolina. The awards benefit local nonprofit programs that support small business development. The Fifth Third Foundation awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $50,000 grant to support entrepreneurship through a pitch competition.
Central Piedmont designed the "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. The competition will provide underserved individuals who participate with access to the capital, training resources, and social connections needed to remove barriers, and allow individuals to take an idea and turn it into a viable business. The top prize winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.
"Fifth Third Bank is committed to strengthening our communities, and we cannot do it alone: it takes strong and engaged partners like Central Piedmont to truly make a difference," said Lee Fite, regional president for Fifth Third Bank in the Mid-Atlantic. "The '53 Ideas Pitch Competition' addresses an essential link between economic mobility and entrepreneurship. The work our partners like Central Piedmont are doing to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs will directly benefit our community."
"Studies show that four out of five entrepreneurs do not access bank loans or venture capital. Rather, their sources of funding are personal net worth, family wealth, or connections to networks," said Renee Hode, executive director of Central Piedmont's Small Business Center. "Unfortunately, this leads to inequality in entrepreneurship. The '53 Ideas Pitch Competition' seeks to expand opportunity for everyone in the greater Charlotte region, especially those populations who may experience barriers or have limited access to resources to start a business."
The "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" is an open call for business ideas from residents across the region. Individuals will have 53 seconds to pitch their idea in the form of a video submission uploaded to 53ideas.com. The submission deadline is Feb. 20, 2020. For open, inclusive access to the needed technology, Central Piedmont's Small Business Center will be hosting pop-up recording events throughout the community. Visit 53ideas.com for pop-up dates and times.
Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will advance in the competition and receive a $50 award. Over the following 53 days, the participants will work to refine their ideas and master their pitch before another selection process.
Training and coaching on pitching, marketing, financing, forecasting, and business law will be available to participants, regardless of whether they advance in the competition. Free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont, and Stanly.
After the 53-day training period, the top 53 entrants will participate in a closed pitch event where the judges will narrow the field down to 15. The top 15 will receive $200 each and go on to compete on stage for the top awards: first place receives $10,000; second place earns $5,000; and third place receives $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.
The 38 participants who did not advance can still showcase their ideas at an expo before the final pitch event. This gives these participants visibility with event attendees, as well as an opportunity to share their ideas and increase their social networks.
"53 Ideas Pitch Competition" is made possible by the support from the Fifth Third Bank Foundation and the Central Piedmont Foundation, and also the City of Charlotte's Economic Development Office.
Learn more about the "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" at 53ideas.com or upload a video submission by the Feb. 20 deadline.
A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has made a significant gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to support the creation of a new Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. The center will advance the best practices of impactful teaching at the college to inspire, guide, and support instructors in the key areas of pedagogy, course content and information delivery.
The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Central Piedmont will facilitate the professional development of the college's full- and part-time faculty, with the goal of enriching students' learning and overall educational experience, motivating them to persist and complete their programs of study.
The gift to help create the center comes as part of Central Piedmont's ongoing "Powering a Stronger Future" campaign. The five-year fundraising effort seeks to raise $40 million the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the college's 56-year history. The campaign will run through June 2022, and has raised more than $23.8 million to date.
The center's focus areas will include:
- developing pedagogy that is inclusive, equitable, and centered on student learning and success,
- using technological tools and resources to enhance classroom teaching,
- encouraging and supporting instructional innovation,
- furthering the continued growth and instructional effectiveness of all faculty,
- fostering and disseminating strategies that improve classroom experiences for students,
- promoting the ongoing assessment of teaching strategies and student learning, and
- developing instructional content and methods that promote critical thinking and skills needed for careers and further education.
Current programming plans for the center include:
- conducting workshops for instructors,
- sponsoring guest speakers to share best practices,
- providing semester-long orientation and training programs for new instructors and skills-refreshment programs for established faculty,
- establishing mentoring relationships for new instructors with successful classroom instructors,
- conducting training sessions focused on the needs of part-time instructors, and
- sharing scholarly research and articles related to best practices in classroom teaching and learning.
"The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence will be a permanent resource and catalyst for instructional excellence at Central Piedmont," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The center will be based on Central Campus, but it will serve instructors and offer programming at all of the college's campuses. The center will be critical to ensuring outstanding classroom instruction and learning for all of our students."
The college will hold a ceremony to dedicate the center during the 2020 spring semester.
For updates on the progress of Powering a Stronger Future, visit our campaign updates page.
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