Coca Cola Scholar Latia Harvin (seated) with Educator of Distinction Award Recipient Sherry Yearty (standing).                                                   Photo Provided

Latia Harvin, recent graduate of C.E. Murray High School, dual enrollment student at Williamsburg Technical College, and a 2017 Coca Cola Scholar named Mrs. Sherry Yearty, WTC English and Public Speaking Instructor, her most influential educator. For this honor, Mrs. Yearty received the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction Award for Exemplary Dedication to the Field of Education.

Latia Harvin and Mrs. Sherry Yearty met a couple of years when Latia enrolled at WTC as a Dual Enrollment student her junior year of high school in hopes of getting ahead for college. Once being placed in Mrs. Yearty’s class, Latia reached out to her new college course instructor with a simple text message that the two still remember fondly. It went something along the lines of: “Hi, I’m Latia and I’m in your class. My brother had you before, do you remember him? He said you were a really good teacher and coming from him that means something.” The two laughed while telling the story and explaining that Latia’s older brother, Theodore Harvin, IV, wasn’t the easiest student to please.

Since then, Latia has earned 30 hours of college credits and is currently enrolled in six more hours for the summer. Mrs. Yearty bragged, “She won’t tell you, but I will, she has a 4.0 GPA as well!” At the completion of the summer session, Latia will have earned the WTC General College Studies Certificate. While taking two college courses each semester on top of the normal high school course load, Latia made sure that both academic loads, high school and college, received her attention, resulting in graduating as C.E. Murray High School’s Class of 2017 Valedictorian. In the fall, Harvin is attending the University of South Carolina to study biology in plans of going onto dental school to become a pediatric dentist. To put it into perspective, she will walk in the door as an incoming freshman with an entire year’s worth of course credit.

Latia says that “her parents and grandparents instilled in both her and her brother at an early age the importance of helping others.” Her love for helping others and bettering the community show when you look at her community involvement. Latia is the founder of Tutor Team 17 at C.E. Murray High School, a student organization that provide tutoring services and assistance to middle and high school students. Founding an organization seems unrealistic until learning that she now serves as the Director of Recruitment for the Low-Country Youth Enhancement Program, a non-profit organization started by Latia’s brother, Theodore, when she was in seventh grade. This program is directed to enlighten youth on the significance of giving back to their community. As Director of Recruitment, she even made it possible for her own peers to complete volunteer and service requirements as well as demonstrating the importance of giving back to their community. Latia was also State Ambassador for the National Society of High School Scholars, Vice-President of the C.E.M. Student Government, President of the Senior Class, and 2016-2017 Miss Upward Bound just to name a few.

Harvin sought the advice and support of Mrs. Sherry Yearty, her WTC English and Public Speaking Instructor, when it came time for the Coca Cola Scholarship Application process. This is a national scholarship that is awarded to remarkable students who demonstrate leadership and significant impact to their school and community.

Over 86,000 application were submitted, 1,900 semifinalists were selected, 250 Regional Finalists chosen for an In-person interview, and only 150 of those were chosen as 2017 Scholars to receive $20,000 scholarships. Latia Harvin, 1 of 86,000 students across the nation, was selected as one of the Scholars.

Within the application process, each applicant names their most influential educator, no limit on what level of schooling, time with educator, etc.; it’s the student’s personal choice. Latia choose her Williamsburg Technical College Dual Enrollment Instructor, Sherry Yearty. Latia surprised Mrs. Yearty with the Educator of Distinction Award and certificate one day in class. Latia said “I wish I would have videoed giving you the certificate!” Yearty definitely agreed also stating “I don’t think I could talk or focus the rest of class!”

When asked what made Mrs. Yearty the perfect choice for this award, Latia answered quickly and confidently; “She helped me so much with this scholarship process, she always has taken the time to help me with whatever I needed, not just scholarships, and Mrs. Yearty is really easy to talk to and get in touch with.” Those genuine feelings were reciprocated by Yearty’s response of Latia’s attributes that make her such a great student; “Latia is AMAZING! Not only is she wise beyond her years, she is driven, humble, compassionate, dependable, intelligent; I could just go on and on!”

It’s not hard to see the bond and appreciation these ladies have for each other when they are together.

Latia Harvin and Sherry Yearty are both forces to be reckoned with in the humanitarian and education worlds.

Mrs. Margaret Chandler, Dean of Instruction and Dual Enrollment Coordinator states, “WTC is lucky to have both Latia Harvin and Sherry Yearty as part of our school family.

We all need a ‘Mrs. Yearty’ to support us and could all use some of Ms. Harvin’s determination and helping heart.”