A 2014 graduate of King George High School, Savannah Carabin began pursuing higher education via Rappahannock Community College’s dual enrollment classes, and will complete an associate degree in Spring 2016 — without ever having to leave her home county.
“My experience at RCC [the off-campus site at King George High School] has been extremely satisfying,” Carabin says, “because I gained valuable skills that helped me get a job.” Her dual enrollment classes made her familiar with a number of computer design programs, and she uses this knowledge in her work as a graphic designer for a local shop, “Rocky Top Embroidery & More.”
In addition, she says, “I own my own photography and freelance graphic design business. I hope to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University and receive my bachelor’s degree in graphic design, advertising, or both.”
“I feel that I am adequately prepared for the transition,” she continues, “as RCC’s curriculum is very similar to VCU’s.” In addition, VCU is close enough to allow her to come home often, so as to continue her volunteer work with a number of civic organizations in King George and neighboring counties.
Several of these, such as the King George Chamber of Commerce, the King George High School chapter of DECA, the King George Fall Festival Queens’ Pageant, and the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair Queens’ Pageant, provided her with scholarships to attend RCC.
“I like to volunteer my time to various organizations and community events, like the 4438 Professional Firefighters Golf Tournament,” she says. “Whoever needs my help knows where to reach me.” She is also closely connected with the “My Vote Matters” Facebook campaign, a community outreach endeavor of the King George DECA chapter which strives to educate citizens on the importance of voting in local and state elections.
A recent internship with the King George County Department of Economic Development, as well as the associate degree in business administration that she will receive this spring, will add essential experience and knowledge to help Carabin make her own way in the world. Her eventual goal is to found an advertising firm, or a new branch of Rocky Top Embroidery — in either case, “to help small businesses brand themselves to compete in the ever-changing economy.”
Carabin’s RCC classes, she says, were “greater than I ever expected. Everyone has been so accommodating. Ms. Turner [King George site supervisor Karen Turner] always has everyone’s best interests in mind. Most of the site staff know my name, and take the time to know a little bit about everyone.”
She rates RCC’s faculty at “12 out of 10,” and states, “All of my teachers have taught me valuable life lessons” — Dr. Pearl Rayms-Keller, Robert Parker, Michael Jagielski, and Terry Abell are some that she found particularly inspiring.
Carabin credits her father, a salesman in the automotive industry, as “my biggest advocate for my education and well-being. After watching him struggle during the recession, he taught me the importance of resiliency, remaining humble, and learning to not be dependent on others” — as well as how to drive a stick-shift, change the oil in her car, and change a tire. These lessons were reinforced by her mother, who by earning a business degree online while working to contribute to the family income “taught me the benefits of being independent, self-reliant, and not allowing anyone else to define you.”
“I am an avid photographer, wake surfer, coffee addict, and pageant enthusiast,” declares Carabin. “I just competed at the ‘Miss Virginia’ Association of Fairs Pageant, which is a ‘Miss Virginia’ preliminary, and I was given the opportunity to speak about what I’ve done with my platform, ‘My Vote Matters’. After my year of service as ‘Miss Stafford County Fair’ is over, I plan to work with the Stafford County Agricultural and Homemaking Fair committee to help them get ready for next year’s pageant, and to prepare the contestants as to the importance of community service, leadership, manners, hospitality, and public speaking.”