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SCC Alum Now a Visual Arts Teacher

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Brenda Hernandez of Mount Airy, a graduate of Surry Community College, is now taking on the role of a visual arts teacher at local elementary schools.

Hernandez graduated from North Surry High School in 2018, before attending Surry Community College. She graduated from SCC with an Associate in Fine Arts in Spring 2020, before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education K-12 in Spring 2022.

“My experience at Surry Community College was unforgettable. The professors are very kind and will help you in any way possible. One of my mentors who I have always looked up to is my previous art professor Anna-Olivia Sisk. She guided me through the path I wanted to take,” she said.

A first-generation college student, Hernandez was also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success’s chapter at SCC and graduated Magna Cum Laude. “I was blessed enough to have supportive parents who helped me out and highly encouraged me to push through in finishing college in exactly two years without worrying about getting a job due to the number of classes I was taking. Even though taking six classes per semester was stressful at the same time, I am so happy and relieved to have finished in the time frame I had set for myself, especially with a high GPA,” says Hernandez.

She continued to stay involved in extracurriculars and academics during her college career at UNCG, joining an honor society, earning a student excellence award, and staying on the Chancellor’s List while graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Hernandez first discovered that she wanted to become an art teacher during her art classes with Anna-Olivia Sisk at SCC. She remains grateful for Sisk staying in her life beyond college graduation and being someone she can turn to for advice.

“Words cannot express how happy I am to have a mentor like her. She is always checking up on me and my life as an art teacher, and I will forever cherish that,” Hernandez says of Sisk.

Sisk speaks highly of Brenda Hernandez, expressing how impressed she was with Hernandez’s accomplishments. “She graduated from SCC in four semesters with her AFA, went straight to UNCG, and graduated in two years with her BFA and art education teaching license. I do not think I have ever had a student graduate with their degree and teaching license in that perfect amount of time. I am so happy for her,” says Sisk.

Since graduating from SCC and UNCG, Hernandez has started working as the Visual Arts Teacher at both White Plains Elementary and Cedar Ridge Elementary. “I am so happy to say that I work in the county I grew up in. My career goal was to work with the Surry County Schools community from the very start, and that is what I obtained. I am so blessed to have this opportunity given to me,” says Hernandez.

Currently, Brenda enjoys getting used to being a new teacher and being able to plan fun and engaging art projects for her elementary students. Planning for her classroom activities is one of her favorite things to do, in addition to spending time with her younger brother, doing puzzles, working on personal art projects like paintings and drawings, and enjoying nature.

“Surry Community College offers affordable college classes instead of going straight into a university and not knowing what you want to do in life yet. This saves you money by still taking college classes, but in a more economical way. By gaining credits, you can transfer these to the college you want to go to if you plan to continue your education at a four-year university. I speak on this by experience because this is what I did. Transferring from SCC gave me a head start in receiving my bachelor’s degree in a more convenient way,” says Hernandez.

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