CLIFTON FORGE — Alexis Ballard had no intention of staying home after she graduated from Covington High School in 2016. She had always thought about attending Radford University, which has a well-known program in occupational therapy.
But after reviewing finances, she found she could attend Dabney S. Lancaster Community College for a fraction of the cost.
“I changed my mind really quickly,” says the 21-year-old Covington native.
While she attended DSLCC, she was one of the recipients of DSLCC’s Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, the Jackson River Community Credit Union Scholarship, the Raymond and Richard Claterbaugh Scholarship in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Raymond L. Claterbaugh Sr., and a member of the Dabney Promise Program, which enabled her to attend DSLCC without taking out any loans.
She graduated in 2018 with an associate’s degree in general studies and, best of all, no college debt.
“At first I didn’t think Dabney was going to be the place for me,” she said. “But I really enjoyed all of my courses at Dabney, and the professors were so approachable. Sometimes you don’t even have to schedule an appointment, you can ask to speak to your professor after class if you have a question.
“I thought it would be hard to make friends at Dabney, but it was just the opposite,” she added. “I met my best friend there.”
After earning her two-year degree, she attended James Madison University for a semester to study political science, but changed her major to history, with the intention of earning a teaching certificate.
“Dabney had prepared me academically for JMU,” she said. But she soon realized she wasn’t suited for a big university setting with huge classes, and came home. “It just wasn’t for me,” she added.
She is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology through Mary Baldwin College. All of her courses are online, and considering the pandemic, her academic schedule hasn’t changed at all.
“I know a lot of people have trouble paying attention, not being in a classroom, but I’ve found that I can focus on my school work,” said Ballard. “I can take three quizzes in a row or turn in two essays ahead of time. It’s really convenient for me, too, especially since I’m working.”
Ballard is employed part-time with the Alleghany Highlands Victim/Witness Assistance Program that serves Alleghany, Bath and Highland counties.
She is still in training and her job is mostly administrative, but she feels like this is the type of work she could make into a career. It can be stressful, she says, but very rewarding to help victims of a crime. Her parents, Kevin and Deanna Hall, are very supportive of her academic and career goals.
She hopes to finish her degree with Mary Baldwin in the next couple of years, if not sooner. “School work is a priority for me,” she added.
For more information about scholarship opportunities at DSLCC, contact the DSLCC Educational Foundation at (540) 863-2835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about DSLCC, programs, career training and more, visit the website at www.dslcc.edu.
To schedule an appointment with an advisor, call DSLCC Student Services at (540) 863-2820 or email email@example.com.
Alexis Ballard, a 2016 graduate of Covington High School, had no intentions of staying in the Highlands after graduation, but soon realized she could attend Dabney S. Lancaster Community College for a fraction of the cost of a four-year institution. She earned her associate’s degree in general studies in 2018 and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology through Mary Baldwin College. (DSLCC Photo)
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.