Cumberland International Early College senior Arianna Herring is someone you may not want to challenge to a battle of wits.
Arianna is a two-time national qualifier in speech and debate and a national champion in original oratory, placing fourth overall at the 2021 National Catholic Forensics League Championship.
In addition to being her school’s speech and debate team captain, Arianna is the student body president and an active member of the Student Government Association. Outside her school activities, she was elected as a member of the Student Voices Committee by North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson and has served as a student representative for the Cumberland County Board of Education.
“I love school simply because I really love learning,” Arianna says.
She fostered her love of learning by participating in Key Club, National Honors Society and National Spanish Honors Society.
Arianna also manages a full 21-credit course load at Fayetteville State University while working 30 hours a week at Chick-fil-A. She has also accrued over 250 volunteer hours.
Despite her extensive extracurricular activities, advanced academic load, and work, she has maintained a high grade point average and currently has a weighted GPA of 4.6216.
“Grit and hardworking,” English teacher Shannon Jarman says are the words she associates with Arianna.
Arianna has overcome considerable difficulties. When faced with hardships, she made the choice to use the resources available to keep herself on the right path.
“Mrs. Mia Watson, my guidance counselor, has taught me the importance of self-care and creating a world of peace for myself,” says Arianna. “She taught me how to set healthy boundaries, eliminate self-doubt, and create long-lasting relationships with friends and family.”
Mrs. Watson’s guidance helped teach Arianna the importance of keeping a healthy mind to be successful. She chose to focus her energy in class and at home on how to be a better person for herself instead of for others.
“It’s about finding a balance,” Arianna says. “For me, it was managing stress and realizing that my stress was coming from my own expectations. Rather than worrying about how much you do or how you do it, it’s about whether or not it satisfies you and makes you content.”
After graduation, she intends to go to college — and she definitely has options. She has earned a full scholarship to Fayetteville State University, a merit scholarship of $98,000 from Campbell University, and a merit scholarship of $118,000 from Methodist University.
“I believe Cumberland County Schools has prepared me for my future by challenging me to strive for the best,” says Arianna. “It offered extracurriculars that helped me explore my strengths and talents and gave me opportunities to participate outside of school in a professional setting where I could learn and grow as an individual.”
While Arianna has been involved in many organizations and activities, her favorite is clear:
“Speech and debate changes lives. It changed my life. It is a safe haven where everyone can use their own words to express themselves. It motivated me to find not only my voice but myself.”
To future students, Arianna says, “Never give up on what your goals are. Focus on you and not others, and you will succeed.”
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about the Standout Seniors of 2022 as selected by Cumberland County Schools.