Made In CMS

Farell Beam McElveen

South Mecklenburg High, Class of 1997

My name is Farell Beam McElveen, and I am a proud graduate of CMS. I attended Beverly Woods Elementary, Barringer Elementary, Carmel Middle School and graduated from South Meck.

I’m grateful for my CMS education. CMS challenged me academically and socially through the academically gifted program, AP classes and extracurricular activities like band, student council and cheerleading, but most of all the CMS teachers challenged me. From Art to Math to English and beyond, the CMS teachers worked tirelessly to provide opportunity.

Mrs. Blackburn was a guiding force in my education. I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Blackburn for 8th grade English at Carmel as well as 9th grade English at South Meck. Boy, was she tough! I think I made a C on my first test, but by the end of the year I was making As. In Mrs. Blackburn’s class, effort and hard work paved the way. Mrs. Blackburn motivated me to work hard and excel.

She taught me lifelong lessons: write eloquently, speak eloquently and always use good grammar and put in the effort and hard work. These lessons have served me well throughout my life. If you have good ideas that you wish to come to life, it is imperative that you are able to communicate them and to support them through your hard work and effort. I remember her grammar guidelines notebook we had to assemble in 8th grade. Do you know that I still have that notebook and continued to reference it throughout college?

Mrs. Blackburn was not only an excellent teacher, but she was also a mentor. She would inquire about my other classes, leadership positions and extracurricular activities.  She attended my high school graduation, and we kept in touch after college.

Thank you Mrs. Blackburn for being a guiding force in my life and for believing in me.  It made all the difference. When a teacher believes in you and motivates you, you build self-confidence and self-reliance. Those are the internal motivators that have helped me to become the person I am today.

After CMS, I continued my public education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a B.S. in Business Administration and a Masters in Accounting at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. I moved to San Francisco in 2004 to work with a human capital consulting firm.

After eight years in the industry, I took a leap and followed a lifelong passion to be an artist. Today, I’m a proud mom of two young boys, George and Charlie, a wife to Ashby McElveen and I am working hard to build my next career as an artist. I stand where I am today because of the impact a CMS education and teachers like Mrs. Blackburn made, and for that I am forever grateful.

- Farell Beam McElveen