A Graduation Story

Briana Cary was born and raised in Church Hill, attending Church Hill Academy as she transitioned into High School. This is where she first met Gina Maio, Church Hill Academy’s previous Head of School for 9 years. As Gina, or “Mrs. G”, got to know Briana, she quickly noticed her capabilities and challenged her in school, pushing her above Briana’s own expectations. They developed a mentor-mentee relationship that far surpassed their time at school.


When Briana arrived at Longwood University, she encountered difficulties with the coursework and her ability to ask for help. “I didn’t think I would catch on and I didn’t think I would get it… I didn’t want to ask for help, and didn’t want to seem needy”. With her grades suffering, passion dwindling, and on the verge of breaking down, Briana felt that her time in college needed to come to an end during her Sophomore year. When consulting both her mother and Mrs. G, they told her the same thing - that she was more than capable of finishing well, and that it was okay to ask for help. Taking this advice to heart, Briana’s grades rose and she began to love school again.

Briana graduated this May with a Sociology Degree and a Family Studies Concentration and is a certified Family Life Educator. She plans to pursue her passion for serving families no matter the situation, hoping to work in juvenile rehabilitation and family counseling. She’s even got Graduate School on her horizons! 

College isn’t always the right path for our youth, but we are exceedingly proud of all our students and the way they persist despite difficult circumstances. While our youth aren’t always set up to succeed, we work to empower every person that walks through CHAT’s doors - in hopes that they too will see that they are capable of great things. 


Briana's Advice?

“Never give up. Everyone has a calling, it’s just about finding yours and working for it. It’s possible. I didn’t think it was possible. I graduated from college - who does that?”

Your continued support allows students like Briana to pursue their passions and achieve their goals!