Dawn Hand

Dawn Hand

West Charlotte High, 1984

My formative education was in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools since first grade. There I was blessed with many gifted, engaged and exceptional teachers. I met my first boyfriend at Piedmont. Actually, he was my second.

While at Piedmont, I strengthened my love of basketball. Coach Fred Stafford, a humble man, inspired and encouraged our entire athletic program. He really wanted us to do well. With my dad coaching basketball, we had six players on the team--six! And we made it happen. Piedmont had a rich diversity of teachers and faculty and students.

I graduated Piedmont and then it happened! I entered the best high school in the land: West Charlotte, Home of the Lions. Again, the blessing of a beautiful tapestry of people and cultural expressions was all around--such a tremendous experience. On this campus is where I dug deep in studying. I nurtured my athletic prowess, learned the value of trust, and loved deeply friends I’d made since elementary as well as formed new friendships.

Relationships from my CMS days continue to nurture me to this day. Among the blessings at West Charlotte, was the best teacher I have ever had, Ms. Retha Andrews. Now I initially struggled in Algebra--friends, let me tell you, it was very, very hard. Ms. Retha constantly planted in my spirit that I could and that I would conquer Algebra, and I did it. She valued all students and treated us with respect. She supported us and wanted us to succeed in the biggest class of all: Life.

I graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1984, and since that time I have had multiple occasions to visit and connect with Ms. Retha and Coach Stafford. I am forever grateful for their life blessings that remain with me today. Thank you CMS for a good and strong foundation.

- Sonja Gantt