SuCCess Stories

Female graduate holding Miss Stanly County crown and sashResisting the Pressure to Please Led Student to Succeed at SCC

Albemarle native Shelby Sides was just one of the many millions of high school seniors across the country who were unable to enjoy the benefits of their final year due to the pandemic. There was no prom or “special days” that brought students together as they prepared to go their separate ways.

“Another pressure many seniors face is where they are going to college,” says Shelby. “It is often assumed that’s the path you should take. I was asked repeatedly where I had applied to college. And my answer was always vague because I could not get excited about going to a four-year college when I had no idea the course of study I wanted to pursue.”

Shelby says a friend invited her to tag along on a visit to Stanly Community College. When they visited, Shelby talked to a Business Administration instructor who reassured Shelby that being undecided on a career path was not unusual, but having a degree in Business Administration would be helpful for any career she wanted to undertake.

Shelby began competing in the Miss America Organization when she was a high school senior. Shelby says she often got bullied when she was younger, even for simple things. That’s why she made it her mission and platform after being crowned Miss Stanly County’s Outstanding Teen to talk to young students about the impact and harm involved in bullying.

In October 2022, Shelby was crowned Miss Stanly County and received scholarship money as a result of the competition. Once again, Shelby says she wanted to use her title to represent another initiative – promoting the benefits of Stanly Community College and community colleges in general as an attractive and important alternative to a four-year college.

“North Carolina must have a strong skilled labor force in order to entice industries to move here,” says Shelby. “SCC and other community colleges are crucial to providing the types of skilled workers these companies need to locate and grow here. Community colleges are the backbone of economic development in our state.”

“I am on a mission to educate and raise awareness of the benefits of community colleges, specifically SCC. Many students like me, should not feel any less successful because we chose another avenue to achieve our educational objectives.”

Shelby, who graduated from SCC in May 2022 with a degree in Business Administration, now works for a social media marketing agency while she prepares for the Miss North Carolina pageant to be held in the summer of 2023.

“Just like people don’t know the financial and educational benefits of attending a community college, people are often unaware that pageants represent ways to gain valuable scholarships,” says Shelby. “The Miss North Carolina Organization is part of the largest scholarship program available to women around the world. I feel so fortunate that I resisted the pressure to attend a four-year college.  I encourage every high school student and their parents to visit the campus and learn about the diverse programs SCC offers. Every path to success is different.”

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