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Craven County Schools welcomes back Toni Blount, Director of College Advising and Scholarships

Craven County Schools Creates New Position to Assist Students Pursue Future Goals

Jennifer Wagner, Director of Public Relations & Communications

 

Each school year begins a new chapter and the 2019-20 school year brings in a new employee to the district. Mrs. Blount joins the team of counselors, teachers, and administrators to work with students and families on college advising and scholarships. She is well versed in scholarships, Career and College Promise dual enrollment programs, AP courses and the UNC and NC Independent College requirements and profiles for admissions. Additionally, Mrs. Blount is chairing the NC Governor’s School selection process as well as promoting and enhancing all pre-college programs on college campuses.

 After graduating from East Carolina University with a B.S. and MAEd. in education, Mrs. Blount began the first 4 years of her career at Roger Bell and AH Bangert Elementary Schools and served as Craven County Schools Teacher of the Year.  Additionally, she taught evening and part-time courses at Craven Community College as well as serving in an academic advising and Craven Early College Liaison role for a total of 19 years. Mrs. Blount relocated to Scotland County Schools as the Director of College Central and Clinton City Schools as the College Advising and Scholarship Coordinator. During these years, she assisted students and families in earning millions of dollars in local, state, and national scholarships as well as military and community college scholarships.

 “I believe in a best fit philosophy for college research and admissions. Students have options to pursue degrees at two- and four-year colleges, military, military academies, apprentice and on the job training courses to pursue certificates and diplomas. It is my goal to reach students in classrooms, small and large group presentations, and one-on-one sessions to assist in finding that best fit plan for post-secondary goals.  Helping students locate scholarships to decrease the cost of pursuing their college dreams is a personal and professional goal,” declares Blount.

 Mrs. Blount serves on the NC Counselor Advisory Panel and the College Board Scholarship Council in addition has previously earned the ACT High School of the year award for College and Career Readiness. “Students should begin the career and college process as early as elementary/middle school where they can create a College Foundation of NC (CFNC.org) account and work through lessons on career inventories, Paws in Jobland, college research, and financial literacy. “My goals for Craven County Schools include the promotion of a college and career readiness standard that upon graduation, students have a “best fit” post-secondary plan which includes technical and trade educational opportunities with job placement, two- or four-year college admissions and scholarships, or military opportunities.  I also strive to increase scholarship awareness early in the educational years by using CFNC materials and College Board Opportunity Scholarships.” Mrs. Blount promotes other scholarship venues including: Going Merry, Raise Me, Fastweb, parent and student employers, Veteran’s Administration, church or other faith-based organizations, local organizations, banks and credit unions, and college specific websites. Craven County Schools also offers a scholarship and loan programs through the AH Bangert Fund. Seniors should seek all scholarship applications through their guidance offices as well as larger sources of scholarship information on the Craven County Schools District website under College Advising and Scholarships.

 The intricate connection of maximizing the K-12 experience of academics, extracurricular activities, service and leadership to the K-16 transition process, has been the purpose of Blount’s work for over 25 years.  She believes in a college planning road map which includes selecting a variety of high school courses at the highest level of rigor the student can manage, CCP and AP courses, career and technical courses as well as the arts, physical education and JROTC. Additionally, a student should begin building their profile early with community service, volunteerism, clubs and organizations such as athletics and the arts. If a student desires a four-year degree, they should begin their SAT and ACT in the 11th grade year and use Khan Academy (SAT) and ACT Academy for free personalized test prep to improve their scores. “Students that take these tests multiple times often take advantage of a ‘super score’ for college admissions, Blount says. If a student would benefit from testing fees waived, they should see their guidance counselor for a fee waiver to not only take the tests but to also receive waivers for college applications. Blount continues, “There is great value in family responsibility, a part-time job, tutoring or mentoring younger students. Some of the best forms of leadership don’t have a title but can make an amazing college or scholarship essay.”

 The month of October is NC Countdown to College in which each high school will host meaningful college awareness events as well as a week of “free applications” to NC Colleges from Oct. 21-25. Refer to the College Advising Website on Craven County Schools site for more information on completing in-state residency, FAFSA and college applications. In conjunction with Craven Community College, Mrs. Blount will host college events for interested students and families on financial aid and scholarships.

 On October 7, 2019, Mrs. Blount will support a district wide College Colors Day in which all employees will wear a college shirt or college colors (their alma mater or a college they support) and speak to their students throughout the day about their college or training experience. The more we have conversations with students about opportunities, the more we grow the culture of making plans for career, college and scholarships!”

 Mrs. Blount works in each high school weekly and can be reached at 514-6043 or toni.blount@cravenk12.org.