Cross Creek Early College High School

Meet Stephany Rollins

  • “Using Gifts to Help Others”


  • In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools, stores and offices and impacted many lives. The pandemic intensified numerous issues in the community and created even more obstacles for some of the most highly impacted families.

    Stephany Rollins understands the frustrations of a language barrier. So, while students were still learning virtually, Stephany helped an ESL middle school teacher communicate with Spanish-speaking families.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has created many learning barriers for students who are unaware of how to communicate with their teachers and access online classes through virtual platforms,” Stephany said. “I am happy that I could help students and parents learn to navigate through student emails, educational platforms (i.e., CANVAS), and scheduled video calls. I have met so many frustrated parents who want to help their children but are unable to because they do not speak English. I understand the difficulty of learning a new language and feeling isolated because no one understands you. For these reasons, I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn English and use it to help others who have struggled like myself.”

    This month, Stephany will graduate from Cross Creek Early College High School. Throughout her high school years, she has demonstrated dedication and commitment to her community, accumulating 522 hours of community service.

    In addition to assisting ESL families, Stephany has also given her time and dedication to the American Red Cross Youth Club, Cape Fear Valley Hospital Volunteer Program, and the Arts Council of Fayetteville. Last summer, Stephany completed a summer service project in which she helped to make and package 200 cloth face masks which were donated to “El Centro Hispano” in Durham, NC.

    “Stephany chooses to demonstrate dedication and commitment to her community,” said Ebony Matkins, teacher and senior advisor at Cross Creek. “She enjoys her involvement and that is evident in her reflections and continued efforts to volunteer, even throughout a pandemic.”

    Stephany is committed to her schoolwork as well. Cross Creek Early College employs a rigorous curriculum with honors-level and college-level courses on a university campus. Students can earn up to 60 tuition-free transferable college credits, but the accelerated learning opportunities aren’t always for everyone. Stephany has risen to the challenge, excelling in her classes.

    Stephany has also benefited from the personalized learning environment at Cross Creek. With small class sizes, teachers build strong relationships with students. For Stephany, Mr. McGinnis, her English I and III honors teacher, has helped her reach her goals.

    “Mr. McGinnis has helped me recognize my potential when I didn't believe in myself,” Stephany said. “Regardless of how simple or complex an assignment was, he taught me the importance of setting expectations for myself in the work I delivered. When I took his class, I truly understood that knowledge and skill do not come at ease; you have to work diligently to attain them. My success these past four years has been a product of Mr. McGinnis's continued support and guidance.”

    Because of her hard work, Stephany has received multiple scholarship offers totaling more than $150,000. She is thankful for her experience in college-level courses, which will help her achieve continued success. One day, she hopes to be a doctor.

    Cumberland County Schools (CCS) has offered me so many resources that have helped me prepare and reach for future success,” Stephany said. “CCS has allowed me to enroll in an early college to take college-level courses. This experience has allowed me to see the reality of being a college student as I have certain responsibilities in school and outside of school.

    “CCS has also taught me the importance of finding a personal meaning to my work aside from academic excellence. Rather than perceiving my work as an obligation, I now see it as a way to grow mentally and as a guide towards my future pursuits.”

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Stephany Rollins - CCECHS Resized