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Mother, daughter compete for good grades in virtual classroom

Richmond Community College Pre-Nursing student Latecia Smith and her daughter, Sanira, have worked together to make their virtual classrooms at home a good learning environment.

HAMLET — This year has been a test of perseverance for many people, especially students having to learn in a completely new way.

Richmond Community College is a community filled with understanding staff and faculty who encourage and support students through the unknown adversity and challenges. While taking care of her mother who had suffered an injury, Latecia Smith became motivated to further her career opportunities and pursue something that she loved. Smith enrolled in Richmond Community College the fall of 2020 with the goal of becoming a practical nurse so she could help others and fulfill a personal interest in medicine. 

Smith was excited to begin this pursuit of her dreams, but there have been a few bumps along the way for this mother of two, the largest being COVID-19. Suddenly she found not only her own classes going online, but her 10-year-old daughter’s schooling was going virtual as well. Like many students and parents, she certainly had a challenging 2020.

Smith admits that her new hybrid classes were more conducive to her schedule as it allowed her to be home and tend to her daughter Sanira Smith, 10, and son De’aaron White, 1, but time management was a novel challenge. Plus, keeping herself focused and Sanira focused on online schoolwork was another task for the undertaking. 

To boost morale in her household-turned-classroom, Smith came up with the idea of a competition between her and her daughter. Whoever earned the higher grades for the week would get to choose the activity for the weekend. 

Sanira, who is in the fourth grade, was quick to make it known that she led the competition, and as a consolation, she would not be “cleaning her room.” However, the true prize was a girls’ day of manicures and snacks.


Another motivational boost, Smith said, came from the support of understanding faculty members at RichmondCC. Smith gives credit to her English instructor, Althea Hunsucker, for being a tremendously positive force during the transition from face-to-face instruction to online instruction. 

“From day one, I was filled with uncertainty and nerves, but Ms. Hunsucker made one of my least favorite subjects seem so simple,” Smith said. 

Smith is proud of the high marks she received in a college-level English class compared to the grades she made in this subject while in high school. 

Despite the new norm being to expect the unexpected, Smith is looking forward to the future. She is in the pre-nursing program at RichmondCC, which will give her the opportunity to earn her certification as a Nursing Assistant I and II. She hopes to be able to start working as a CNA while she continues her education in nursing. 

With the spring semester at RichmondCC about to begin, Smith is keeping her eye on the prize. And if her household continues to be a virtual classroom in 2021, she will continue the family competition over grades with her daughter to teach her daughter (and herself) just how far you can go with dreams and determination.

To learn more about enrolling this spring semester at RichmondCC, call Student Services at 910-410-1700 or visit www.richmondcc.edu.