We lived. We loved. We embodied the change that life threw at us. We turned that change into powerful actions for the betterment of our fellow Charlotteans.

Tony Salazar
LC Class 31
Title 1 Literacy Tutor/Family Liaison, Shamrock Gardens Elementary Owner, Spanish Marketing Communications

Sometimes instead of discovering a new passion for service, we discover new depths to our existing passions. This was the case for Tony Salazar. Tony spent over 20 years working in the oil and natural gas industry, publishing a Spanish trade magazine for 10 of those years. As an adult, he always cared about creating opportunities within the Hispanic community. Early on, he joined the ASPIRA Association, a nonprofit organization that provides high school and college students with the support to succeed academically and professionally. After LC, Tony discovered news ways to support the Hispanic community. “LC reinvigorated my interests in assisting minority small businesses, especially women-owned and Hispanic entrepreneurs, with their business planning to improve their financing opportunities,” he says. He continues to be an advocate for students, using his leadership role as chair for the ASPIRA Association to bring after-school STEM programs and leadership opportunities to students.

 

Cindy Pearson
LC Class 33
Title 1 Literacy Tutor/Family Liaison, Shamrock Gardens Elementary

It was during a LC class that Cindy Pearson saw the number that would change everything: 54. In 2012, 54 was the percentage of students that graduated from West Charlotte High School. “What are we going to do about the remaining 46%?” Cindy later asked her husband. LC taught Cindy about the servant-leader mindset. “Nothing that needs to be done is too small and nothing that needs to be done is too big,” she says. Cindy moved her family across town and enrolled her children in Shamrock Gardens Elementary, a letter grade D school that was labeled “failing.” She began working at the school, giving tours, raising money, teaching kids to read, and advocating for her new community. Five years later, Shamrock is now a letter grade B school that continues to improve. “Turning around a struggling school required the hands, hearts, and minds of many,” Cindy says. Working collaboratively with your community is something Cindy remembers learning during the LC rope course. “It was a beautiful lesson in being part of something where risk taking is required, being part of something where no one can be left behind, being part of something that cannot be accomplished alone.”