West Charlotte High School students Raeven Henry and Destiny Planter have always been determined to succeed. The pair said their parents instilled the determination, but finding the right crowd was key in pushing forward throughout high school.
“Really all my best memories of high school come from my [International Baccalaureate] family,” Raeven said. “My IB family helps me stay focus. We call each other and make sure everyone is on track. That’s how I stay focused and driven.”
The West Charlotte High friends are both IB students who recently earned the Gates Millennium Scholarships. The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a full scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Gates Millennium Scholars receive personal and professional development through the Gates leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career. They were the only two students at West Charlotte who received the scholarship this school year.
“I stayed busy in school, because I didn’t want any time to mess up. I want to make sure I’m where I want to be in life,” said Destiny.
While Destiny credits her IB friends with encouraging her, she said the discipline came from her JROTC cadets. Destiny enrolled in JROTC during her sophomore year in high school. She was initially interested in joining the program, because she was attracted to the uniforms, loved the family-connections the students shared and the positive activities they were doing in the school and in the community.
During her two years in the program, Destiny learned a lot about herself. She was already academically successful, but said she learned how to be a leader through JROTC.
“It promotes students to become better, not just academically. In the beginning, I was told that I wasn’t a strong leader. I was able to learn from that and grow, because it was constructive criticism,” said Destiny, who received a countless number of additional scholarships and the AT&T Cadet Achievement Superior Performance Award.
For Raeven her academic discipline came in a form that was personal to her family. She said her mother is from the Dominican Republic and her father is from Panama.
“Both of them lived in great poverty growing up. They gave me all I needed though to make me well rounded, but still humble,” Raeven said.
Raeven recalled how her parents would take her to the poverty-stricken parts of the islands. Seeing the problems in other countries inspired Raeven’s interest in the medical field. She wants to work in third-world countries.
Destiny hopes to become a family court attorney and perhaps an English teacher later in life.
The young women both had advice to offer to help other students get on track.
“Don’t let anyone tell you what you are capable of. Only you know that,” said Destiny.
Raeven added, “One of my teachers always said, ‘For whom much is given, much is required.’ Use your potential and push through for the reward.”
Destiny and Raeven will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall.