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Raise Your Voice: Olivia Bennett, Chatham Charter

Olivia Bennett

Alumna, Chatham Charter School

English II Teacher, Chatham Charter School


 Why do you support charter schools?

Up until fifth grade, I was enrolled in the traditional public school system here in North Carolina. At these schools, I was labeled a "gifted" child, and though I was put into programs such as A.I.G. to test my intellectual limits, the traditional public school environment was not as conducive to my learning. After switching schools in the middle of fifth grade to be at Chatham Charter, I felt as though I had found my place. Though the curriculum was rigorous, and the expectations teachers had for me were more strongly upheld than at my traditional public school, I felt like I was finally able to reach my educational potential. I am so thankful to Chatham Charter for helping me get an early start on college classes, boosting my passion for learning, and for providing an overall wonderful support system. Now, at 22, I could not be more grateful to return to Chatham Charter -- this time, as a teacher. I studied for four years at UNC Chapel Hill, earning my Bachelor's degree in both English Literature and History, while also majoring in German -- something I would have been unable to accomplish in four years if not for Chatham Charter's dual enrollment program with the local community college system, CCCC. Returning to the world of Chatham Charter has been a seamless transition.  Where as a student I was able to thrive in the classroom, I am now part of the support system that ensures current  and future, generations of students achieve their goals and meet and surpass their academic expectations. The environment at charter schools is so different from regular public schools, at least in my experience. The encouragement of learning for the sake of learning and the North Carolina 'Portrait of a Graduate' standards alone that we have in place here make Charter Schools truly special.


What "good news" do charter schools bring to children and families? 

At Chatham Charter, we love to celebrate good news in all facets of our students lives, whether that is academic, athletic, or creatively.  As I mentioned with the environment of encouragement here at Chatham Charter, this news is often celebrated school-wide, from the monitor in the lobby of the High School to news articles posted highlighting students’ achievements. Not only do students get to feel good about their accomplishments, but parents, families, and the vast and supportive community around us get to celebrate those achievements as well.


Who is someone you feel brings out the best in the/your charter community and why?

Beth McCullough, the Executive Director of Communications & Collegiate Partnerships here at Chatham Charter and Central Carolina Academy, brings out the best in my charter community. At the school, despite her busy schedule, she is so involved in everyone's success. Not only is she an amazing and supportive administrator, encouraging the students, parents, families, community, and staff to come to Chatham Charter every day bringing their best, she is also a genuinely great person to know.


Feel free to tell us anything else you would like us to know about your charter school experience, accomplishments and/or advocacy here!

I played soccer in middle and high school at Chatham Charter, and was captain my senior year, alongside Rachel Purvis. I am now fortunate enough to be coaching our girls Varsity soccer team with Rachel!

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