You can go home again. Author Angela Marie Carter did that recently by taking a leap of faith to return to Southside Virginia. Describing herself as ‘a proud graduate of Southside Virginia Community College,” Carter visited the Christanna Campus as a published author and mentor to students who now fill the halls she once walked. The “Meet the Author” event was sponsored by the SVCC Empowered Woman organization and Student Development Services.
Her book of poetry, Memory Chose a Woman’s Body, sells on Amazon.com, resides in libraries and is heard through her readings at colleges, schools, and art shows.
Carter is poetic in her expression as she noted, “First talk. Student body. Out of everything I've achieved as an author so far, yesterday had to be the most special accomplishment. I went back to my hometown. I spoke on three different occasions (all full) about my story, the book, what I've learned and how our very own community college changed my life--and how it's changing their's.
I got up on stage three times. Three times I said...My name is Angela Carter. I am a survivor....I ran away from this town, and realized later that our college is one of the reasons that I have the happiness I do now. (And then they listened....).”
She also noted, “Abuse. Depression. Bullying. Importance of community college. Art and writing. All topics that I talked about yesterday, in THREE talks I gave at Southside VA Community College. Not only were the topics accepted, but I received over 8 messages last night regarding how my talks helped those that attended. I'm dancing on the inside and cannot explain what it meant to me to talk to students, faculty/staff and many community members.
I feel that I can formally announce that this country gal is changing the world. Many past tears were cried and every single one was worth it for what I'm doing now.”
Carter is a graduate of SVCC. She got involved with student art and literature and helped to organize the SVCC Arts and Literature Festival featuring writers, artists and musicians. Because she was going through turmoil in her personal life, she welcomed the involvement and escape through college life. A young mother, writer, motivational speaker and surprisingly strong woman wonders what her life would be like if she had not attended SVCC.
During her years at SVCC (1999-2001), the college offered a Study Abroad Program in which students could travel to the University of Bath in England to study for a semester. SVCC offered scholarships to the program and one was offered to Carter.
“I was not the typical person to receive this, but I feel it was just meant to be,” she remembers.
After what transposed in England, Carter notes that she is afraid to consider what her life would be like had she not gone.
Carter notes that the trip to England was her first escape from the grim specter of a childhood stolen and the first chance to discover her true self. As a child, Carter had encountered abuse by a non-family member. Her own parents were not aware of the long-standing effects, and toll it had taken on her life, until the last few years.
Carter blossomed in England, was mesmerized by the country and the classes and after returning to the United States to get her life in order, she went back to England on a work visa. She met her husband and they lived there for five years and have two daughters. Returning to the U.S., she received a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University and now lives in Harrisonburg, VA.
Her triumphant return to her alma mater was marked by great attendance at each phase of the event, sales of her book, students and friends seeking autographs and photos. Reviews on Amazon.com say
“It's beautifully written, and the content is vividly real” and “a raw talent with honest words.”
SVCC is extremely proud of the accomplishments of this former student and hopes she will come home again soon!!