2017 Orange Honors | Chanta Starkey

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Chanta Starkey

Hello, I am Chanta Starkey, I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and I am excited about returning to college. In the fall I am attending Campbell University and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies. I am the wife of a United States active duty Marine and we are currently stationed at Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I am also a stay at home mom to four beautiful children (three boys and one girl). I am the daughter to an extraordinary mother, daughter to an awesome father who is now deceased, a sister to a phenomenal sister and a friend to many exquisite women that I have been blessed to call friends. I am also a breast cancer survivor.

In November of 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take a break from school as a result of the illness. However, while I am still undergoing treatment and only eight months into this new phase of life, I am beginning to feel much better and I think that it is the perfect time to return to school completely online. While breast cancer can be extremely terrifying and debilitating to many, I have not and will not allow it to deter my dreams of graduating college. Just as I look forward to the day when I will be considered 100% cancer-free, I also look forward to the day when I will receive my college degree.

Earning my college degree will definitely have a positive impact on my life and will indeed benefit my local community. I am well aware of the benefits of having a college degree such as higher earning potential, job stability and a lifetime of increased opportunities, just to name a few. However, my driving force for pursuing a college degree is a bit different. Receiving a degree will allow me the credibility and marketability to receive funding from investors to pursue my passion of starting my own business.

My goal is to start an inner city mentoring program for underprivileged young women and girls. This program will transform the lives of many through guidance that inspires, builds self-esteem and stimulates positive change and growth within their lives. My overall and most important goal for pursuing my college degree is to leave an empowering legacy to my family on the importance of furthering ones education. My parents valued education and instilled the importance of education into me at a very young age and in turn I would like to do the same for my children. My hope is that my children will use their continued education to impact the world and change it for the better.

Receiving a college degree will also empower me. This degree will allow me to step out of the shadows of defining myself just as mom and wife of service member. Through the earning of my degree, my hope is that I will be able to prove to myself that I am so much more than I think I am. It will also allow me to see that I can indeed finish what I have started. Throughout my life I have noticed a pattern of starting things and never finishing. I aim to complete my goals but allow challenges such as finances, the military lifestyle of frequently relocating, and the frequency of finding myself being a single parent as my husband is often deployed as an excuse not to finish school. And it is because of those challenges that at times can result in the dream of me furthering my education to become a small to nonexistent priority.

However, as a result of my breast cancer diagnoses, I am realizing that tomorrow is not promised to anyone and I need to use the time that I am given on earth to pursue and obtain the dreams and goals that I have allowed to lie dormant and go uncompleted for far too long.  As a result of getting my degree, my experience will solidify a sense of resilience within myself and the ability to get an education while withstanding the many challenges that come with living life.

Overall, earning my college degree will indeed have a positive impact on my life. Not only will this degree impact my life positively but it will also impact my community and the lives of so many others in my life. In addition to receiving my degree, my overall objectives are to have my husband proud that I stuck with my dream and was able to finally finish and complete my college degree; my parents proud that their daughter finished college (as that was one of my father’s wishes for me and my sister); my children proud that their mom pursued getting her degree as way to instill the importance of furthering education to the family; my family and friends proud that I persevered in continuing to reach for my goal through much adversity such as being a young wife and mom, breast cancer survivor etc.; and the young women and girls that come through my mentoring program proud that I am able to allow my life to be transparent showing them that anything is possible regardless of demographics and economic status. Receiving this scholarship to aid me in getting my degree will be empowering, liberating, a huge sense of achievement for myself and hopefully a sense of inspiration for the lives of many.   

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