Bennett College is an all girls HBCU located in Greensboro, NC and founded in 1873, that has produced some remarkable leaders and world changers. We started the “Becoming a Bennett Belle” series to speak with Bennett College graduates and learn more about what becoming a Bennett Belle is all about.
Graduation year– 2019
Major – Political Science
What was your life like before attending Bennett College?
Before attending Bennett College, I was in many ways a typical teenager, but I was also conflicted between following my peers and embracing what I felt was important. As an only child, I had already adapted to being my own cheerleader. I didn’t rely on my friends for validation.
What inspired your decision to attend Bennett College ?
One weekend my mother took me to a HBCU college fair at Bowie State University. I stopped at Bennett College’s table mostly because it was the only HBCU there that I had never heard of. The admissions person took my transcript, gave me the application to complete and said come back in 15 minutes. When I returned to her table, she informed me that I was accepted on the spot and offered me a partial academic scholarship. I could not believe that I was accepted, and it was one of the happiest moments in my life.
Are there other HBCU graduates in your family or are you first generation? If first generation, how does it feel starting the legacy of HBCU greatness?
In my immediate family, I am the first to attend and graduate from an HBCU (both of my parents are graduates of PWIs). In my extended family, one uncle graduated from Morehouse College, another uncle graduated from Virginia Union University, my cousin graduated from Tuskegee University, and my Godmother graduated from Winston-Salem State University.
How did attending Bennett College transform you into the woman you are today ?
Bennett College provided me with a safe and nurturing environment to find my voice, while thrusting me into many challenges I never thought I could overcome. The lessons that I have learned over my four years at Bennett have increased my inner strength and confidence. My transformation, which continues, is best expressed in the Belle Creed: Because I am a woman, Strength, Wisdom, and Compassion are my gifts. Because of my faith, I have the courage to move mountains. Because I am a Phenomenal Bennett Belle. I am a leader prepared to shape the future. Whatever I can envision I can achieve. These words will never leave me because I know that they are true.
What were some of the most memorable moments of your HBCU experience?
Some of my most memorable moments would be Sister Chats, becoming a woman of the Omicron Delta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Founder’s Day, Senior Day and many other Bennett traditions. I am also grateful to have met many inspiring leaders including Representative John Lewis, CEO of Papa Johns, Steve Ritchie, Kwanza Jones, and Dr. Rev. William Barber. My favorite memorable moment is when I served as the 39th Miss Bennett College for the 2018-2019 academic school year and my heavy involvement in the “Stand With Bennett” Campaign to help raise five million dollars in 90 days.
We exceeded that amount by raising over $8.5 million, which continues to increase. The campaign brought the HBCU community together and helped us to continue to raise our voices so that Bennett College or any other HBCU would not become a hidden figure or reduced to be just a black school. Bennett College is truly a pearl. The campaign helped reaffirm that HBCUs matter in our society and they should not be threatened by anyone. I refer to Bennett College as “The land of black girl magic, where Bennett Belles reign supreme” because on our campus you can see girls develop into women that are ready to change the world. My sisters are truly royalty!
Leave us with some words of advice for future Bennett Belles
Your crown tills for NO ONE! “Find your voice” because your voice may be the one that inspires others to go after what they thought may not have been possible for them. Keep evolving to the woman you will become.
Follow Brooke on social media – @brookie__