Candice Noel Locklear, a second-year student in the Triangle Distance Education MSW Program at the UNC School of Social Work, was crowned Miss Lumbee on July 5 during the Lumbee Homecoming festivities.
The Miss Lumbee Ambassador serves the Lumbee people and acts as a representative for the Lumbee Tribe. Miss Lumbee’s poise, intellect, and tribal pride show wherever she goes, conveying to others the Lumbee way as she acts as an image for Lumbee people. In addition, Miss Lumbee has a platform, which she uses to focus on the betterment of the tribe as a whole.
As this year’s Miss Lumbee, Locklear’s platform is on education and increasing college attendance rates of Lumbee students. She plans to work hands-on with middle school students to instill in them the importance of college, as well as teach skills and methods that will improve their outcomes and probability of attending college.
“Preparing for college needs to start before a student enters high school because the first day of high school matters,” said Locklear. “Working with middle school students to teach them the fundamentals of preparing for college and exploring career options allows the students to soak everything in and become accustomed to the process rather than being thrown into it upon entering high school.”
Locklear plans to work with Robeson County public schools as well as Title VII Indian Education to implement the program for as many middle school students as possible. She hopes that her program, “Lighting the Way,” will be adopted and implemented in the years to come in order to create a continuous cycle of preparing Lumbee students for college early and improving, not only college attendance, but inevitably high school graduation rates. She wants to help Lumbee students be better assets to the Lumbee people.
In addition to her studies, Locklear has served as the office manager at UNC’s American Indian Center since August 2013. She is a member of the Lumbee Tribe and is originally from Shannon, N.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an undergraduate, she was president of the Carolina Indian Circle, vice president of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, and director of Unheard Voices.
Story and photos courtesy the UNC American Indian Center and LumbeeHomecoming.com.