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Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of profiles of notable graduates in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Class of 2013. Click here to read a previous graduate profile of Keith Fraser.
Christa Faison has always known she wanted to be a teacher.
The granddaughter of teachers and the daughter of a district court judge, Faison’s dedication to her education, extracurricular activities, music and her faith have been recognized by those around her during her years at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
As she walked across the stage at Trask Coliseum on Friday to accept her diploma, Faison took one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a teacher—or in her words “one of the most noble professions.”
Faison’s journey to becoming a teacher began here in Wilmington.
Faison spent her formative years at Wilmington Christian Academy, where she attended kindergarten through 12th grade.
“My parents really just wanted the best education for me. They found Wilmington Christian Academy and thought it was the best education. I have grown to love that as well. The foundation of the school is a Christian background. We’re a Christian family, and to have those values instilled in me even when I was in school helped, too,” Faison said.
Faison was named a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and was accepted into her first-choice school, UNCW. As a teaching fellow, Faison, whose degree is in education, must teach in North Carolina schools for four years after graduation.
While she is applying for jobs as a music educator at various public schools in North Carolina, she also plans to apply to graduate school in January to pursue a masters degree in music education or school administration.
Even as a teaching fellow, Faison faces the same uncertainly as her fellow graduates in whether they will secure a job in this still-uncertain economy.
“I think we’re all in the same boat. While teaching fellows is a wonderful program, we have an equal opportunity in receiving jobs. We’re all just trying to stay focused and prepare to move wherever necessary.
“I’m mostly applying to schools in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Duplin counties. I really want to stay in New Hanover or Pender, but I’m willing to move anywhere. I want to teach. I want to immediately get into teaching.
“For me, teaching is one of the most noble professions. Everyone had to get to where they are because of a teacher,” she said.
While earning her degree and student teaching at Eaton Elementary School, Faison also served as a Resident Advisor (RA) and was a member of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.
“Music has been part of my life forever. I started to play music at two-and-a-half. Competing in fine arts competitions for Wilmington Christian Academy, seeing how music really enhanced my life–I want my students to have that same experience,” Faison said.
Faison credits her family as a factor in her success.
Her father is 5th District Judge James Faison, known for his community involvement in groups like the Blue Ribbon Commission, a youth violence prevention organization.
“My father is definitely my best friend, and I have grown to want to follow in his footsteps. The fact he’s taken the opportunity to come back and give back to that same community [where he was raised] is something that I want to do. I want that same opportunity to give back to my community in that regard as well.”
While she’s ready for the next chapter of her life, Faison fondly recalls some of her best memories at UNCW–mainly the relationships she’s formed, many of which are bonded by a campuswide “spirit of excellence,” she said.
“Some of my best memories have to be the relationships I’ve formed. I really enjoyed being an RA for the past three years. Being on a staff of nine other people is just really incredible,” Faison said.
Then, there’s the symphony, which the violinist describes as “a really incredible experience.”
“I also loved my professors. You can tell they really cared about you. They’re really willing to go out of the way to make sure you’re succeeding; doing what you need to do to prepare yourself for the real world,” Faison said.
As Faison takes the next step in her journey, she has some advice for the class of 2017 when they step onto campus this fall.
“Be involved. Really take advantage of all the opportunities UNCW has to offer. We often take them for granted. They’re going to develop you into this contributor of society you must be. They really help you grow. Stay focused on your grades.
“Stay involved, but do things with a balance,” Faison said.
Caroline Curran is the managing editor of Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.