Her laughter can be heard floating down the halls of Richmond Senior High School, and her bright smile is no disappointment when she extends her hand in greeting.
18-year-old Brittany Roberts, of Laurinburg, is a perpetually optimistic young woman who has her eyes on the prize - and soon she’ll be packing for New York in hopes of winning some cash to help her reach her goals.
“I plan to go to college and major in early childhood education, because I love kids,” said Roberts. “I eventually want to get my PhD, because Mr. Satterfield [Richmond Senior High School principal] really inspires me.”
St. Andrews Presbyterian College and Chowan University are already vying for the star soccer player, offering her goalie scholarships.
Roberts has been hard at work, searching out every opportunity for potential scholarship funds to make her college dreams become reality.
“One scholarship, in particular, really meant a lot to me because I want to educate young children,” said Roberts. “My adviser, Mrs. McLean, told me about the Moose Lodge competition and it sounded like something I could really do well.”
The contest is open to 9-12 graders, and competitors have to create three presentations geared toward educating younger kids about relevant topics.
Roberts chose topics near and dear to an athlete’s heart - physical fitness and nutrition.
She presented one “kids talk” at Washington Street Elementary, on the subject of physical education.
“Being physically active can have a big impact on kids, and help them not only be more healthy but to also be more positive throughout the day,” said Roberts, with a smile.
The next presentation was held at New Life Church, on the subject of nutrition.
“Kids today are facing health problems associated with obesity,” said Roberts. “It’s important to educate kids about what they eat.”
Her final presentation was about sports, held at First Methodist Church, in Rockingham.
“I chose to use soccer as the example, since that’s what I play,” she said. “But my message was that any sport can be a fun way to stay healthy.”
“Brittany’s presentations were chosen as the winner to represent North Carolina in the Moose International Student Congress in White Plains, New York,” said Mike Perdue, an administrator with the Rockingham Moose Lodge.
The Rockingham Moose Lodge has been instrumental in opening up the scholarship opportunity to Richmond County students.
“This is our third year advertising the scholarship contest to students,” said Karen McLean, career information center secretary at RSHS.
By winning the statewide competition, Roberts landed a $1,000 scholarship and hopes to earn up to $12,000 of college funds in New York.
“I’ll do one presentation for a panel of my peers in New York,” she said. “I’ll be there from April 26 until April 29.”
Roberts credits her work with April Whitley, another RSHS student who was in the running for the chance to compete in NY, for inspiring her to work hard.
“And my mom, Betty Roberts, a teacher at Monroe Avenue, taught me how to make lesson plans,” said Roberts. “That has been a huge help with the presentations - knowing how to present my information in an organized way. My mom is wonderful, I want to be just like her.”
Roberts also credits her school with her achievements.
“Richmond Senior High taught me to be a future leader, and I want to pass that on to the next generation of children,” she said.
“Brittany’s a real role model for kids here,” said McLean. “When we have our annual awards banquet this year, I’m sure we’re going to be hearing Brittany’s name quite a lot. She gives 100 percent to everything she does.”
The Rockingham Moose Lodge is sponsoring Roberts’ trip to New York, and giving her some “spending money” to boot.
“We just want to help give back to the kids,” said Perdue. “Giving is what being a Moose is all about.”
Roberts said she’s more nervous about flying than about giving a presentation to a room full of people.
“I can talk to anybody, but I’ve never been on a plane before,” she said. “I’m excited to see the big city, and I want more than anything to have the chance to see a Broadway play while I’m there.”
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.