Local News

NCCU grad: 'It's been a long journey'

Posted May 13

— Chandra Drayton, 44, is now part of the largest class to graduate from North Carolina Central University. With 725 undergraduate degrees awarded, the class of 2017 made history in Durham on Saturday.

The mother of three said her path to turning the tassle has been anything but easy, and graduating is surreal.

Drayton moved to Durham with her husband and daughter a few years ago, only to find the apartment they had already paid a month's rent, had been rented to someone else.

"Trying to live in a hotel while trying to find another place to stay while putting our stuff in storage," she said.

Eventually, the family found themselves at the Durham Rescue Mission.

At the Rescue Mission, Drayton said she found purpose and worked hard achieve her goals.

"I am the me that God made me to be," she said.

She worked part-time and enrolled full-time at North Carolina Central University to study early childhood development. With help from grants, she paid her own way.

With a four-year degree, the homeless shelter is now behind her and her family. And a full-time job is ahead.

"The situation we had to live through and everything, I wanted (my children) to know there was something better, and there was a way to be better," Drayton said. "Education is important."

Drayton has a degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in child development and family relations. She now has a full-time job at a childcare center. Her dream is to someday own her own Christian childcare center.


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  • Brenda Lynch May 14, 10:31 a.m.
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    Oh my goodness. I watched and read this story with tears in my eyes. She has overcome so much. She was down and out and pulled herself up and made a way. She is an inspiration to all of us.

  • Stacie Hagwood May 14, 6:25 a.m.
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    Kudos! That is the can-do spirit that this nation was built on. We need more people like her!