SOAR staff

Pictured from left to right are S.O.A.R. program staff Dora Smith (Counselor), Debbie Stafford (Director), Maria Braswell (Counselor) and Debra Cagle (Administrative Assistant).

SPRUCE PINE — S.O.A.R. (Support Options for Achievement and Retention), a Student Support Services TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education, has received a grant award of $1,755,800, continuing the program that has been in operation at Mayland Community College since 1988. The new grant will fund the operation of the program through August 2025.

TRIO programs include Talent Search, Upward Bound and Student Support Services. S.O.A.R. serves students who are first generation, have limited income, or who have a disability. Students must qualify for the Program by meeting one of these criteria, and be pursuing a two-year degree or diploma which can be completed within a four-year period.

S.O.A.R. provides tutoring, math and writing assistance, study skills building academic support, transfer assistance, career counseling, financial resources, personal counseling, and a computer lab with tutorial software.

The Program staff includes Director Debbie Stafford, MS, counselors Dora Smith, MA, and Maria Braswell, MA, Administrative Assistant Debra Cagle, and Supplemental English and Math instructors Elizabeth Hardy and Larry Shook.

The priority of the program is to provide services and support to help students do their best while in college and to reach their goals of graduation, transfer or obtaining employment. Every student’s journey is different and services are tailored to fit each student.

“Since 1988 over 4,000 Mayland students have benefited from the S.O.A.R. program,” said Vice President Instruction, CAO, Rita Earley. “S.O.A.R. is highly respected and brings results. We are grateful to the Department of Education for recognizing the importance of this funding for our students.”

For more information about the S.O.A.R. Program at MCC, click to, or call (828) 766-1263.

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