The average high school teens are worried about their immediate future, but Vance High School student Khamiah Alderman is looking down the road past college and medical school. Despite facing obstacles, Khamiah is working hard to achieve her dreams. From holding over a 4.0 GPA, volunteering at places like Promising Pages, to participating in school activities like Key Club and the National Honor Society, to doing internships, it’s easy to see why Alderman has been named the 2018 Outstanding Teen at this year’s Governor’s NCWORKS Awards of Distinction.
Alderman was nominated for the prestigious award by her MeckEd career pathway advisor, Torrie Burgess. “We nominated her[first] for the student advisory board here at Meck-Ed because we want to start getting students input on what we do and how we do it from their point of view, what’s going to be [more of an impact] for them. Khamiah was the first person that I thought of, one because of her current leadership skills and because of what she can bring in with new ideas.”
Finding out she was named an Outstanding Teen was a shocker. “I was like that is so cool, but I didn’t think I would get picked. I was coming home, and my mom said I had some mail and I thought it was mail from colleges. It was a thick envelope and it said Governor on it and I opened it and screamed. My mom looked, and we told Miss Torrie. Apparently it was supposed to be a surprise, but I found out and was super excited.” She received the award at the Governor’s Awards banquet at the Sheraton Four Seasons/Koury Center in Greensboro as part of the 2018 NCWorks Partnership Conference.
The 17-year-old discovered she has a passion for reading, which ignited a plan for her career pathway in the healthcare industry. Reading has always been a passion. I’ve always had a thing for reading for quite some time. You usually see kids on their phones, but I’ll be in my room reading a book, or if I’m with my mom in the grocery store, I’m walking with a book. A book is always in my hand. I love volunteering. It never really clicked until 10th grade, until my mom was like “Khamiah, you need community service, you have to do something.” So, I volunteered at Promising Pages. It’s a nonprofit that instills a love of reading to children that are under privileged. I love service and giving back.” First, she wants to attend UNC-Chapel Hill to major in biology or chemistry pre-med track and minor in child development. She plans to become a doctor and start her own non-profit in children literacy; something Alderman has always dreamed of. “In the back of my mind, being a doctor was always there. Going into high school, and being in science classes, I absolutely love learning about anatomy and the body and I love helping people. Connecting my service and science is my all-time dream. I also changed it a little bit, after I practice surgeries here for a couple of years, I actually want to go out of the country.”
She’s already gotten a taste of her non-profit dreams by putting together local book drives. “My English teacher sponsors three kids in Africa and she was telling us how they love school and books. I had the idea of let’s send books over there. I organized a big book drive and I raised over 400 books and I had a room full of boxes and books and she tells me that the organization wont’ allow the books to go over there. I was so hurt, and I had this vision and all these books. My mom saw me close to tears and said, ‘Khamiah, you can’t send books to Africa, but you can send them around your community.’ So, I emailed 6 principals and almost all of them responded immediately. I booked meetings with the schools around my house like Hidden Valley, and some others, so I picked Hidden Valley [to donate the books to]. That was an amazing experience because I couldn’t send books to another country, but I didn’t let that stop me from what I wanted to do, and I flipped it by giving back in my community,” said Alderman.
Alderman credits MeckEd with opening her mind to the vast possibilities of career pathways and helping to hone the skills she will need to navigate the business world. “Without MeckEd, I don’t know where I would be. It’s strengthening my skills as far as professionally and knowing how to communicate and network with people. It’s important for people to know it’s an awesome program.” Burgess has high hopes for this outstanding teen, “I know that Khamiah is going to do great in whatever she wants to do because of her personality and because of her perseverance, and her hard work. She is definitely a shining star.”
Khamiah Alderman is one of the many success stories representing Charlotte Works’ mission to ensure all youth and young adults are career ready. Read more on our website.