Davontae Singleton, University of South Carolina

Davontae SingletonDavontae Singleton is a senior English major at the University of South Carolina. Davontae demonstrates a genuine commitment to civic engagement and has a passion for addressing important issues such as educational inequity and poverty. Since he started as a first-year student at the University of South Carolina, Davontae has demonstrated a sincere desire and commitment to make a meaningful impact in the local community. The Waverly Afterschool Program is a South Carolina Honors College initiative that encourages USC students to volunteer at local community centers in low-income neighborhoods and mentor children of all ages. As the director of the program, Davontae was instrumental in sharing his passion for learning with the children and youth while also caring for them as individuals. Davontae taught the students practical skills such as how to study, and has mentored many of the young students in the Waverly Afterschool Program in their academic journey. Davontae has served in many capacities including as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Summer Associate with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, as an English tutor with Upward Bound, and as a University 101 peer leader. As a University of South Carolina student Davontae’s service has no limits. 
-Harris Pastides, President

When I first came to the university, I felt behind in comparison to my peers. I didn’t come from a family who ever had a student attend a four-year institution—I was a first-generation college student and I was ashamed of it. For my first two months of college I hid behind an invisible shield that never protected me. I was able to use what ashamed me instead to motivate others. I was able to serve as director of the Waverly Afterschool Program, mentoring countless students who grew up in conditions similar to my own, creating opportunities like college fairs so college was not just a dream but could be a reality. Additionally, I have been able to use my community engagement and outreach skills gained as an AmeriCorps Summer VISTA* as a way to create sustainable programs for local community partners, including creating programs for college students to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, No Kid Hungry, and Make a Wish regardless of their time commitments. I hope that my passion for service and my desire to better the community continues to follow me into the classroom as I transition into an even bigger role as an educator.
-Davontae Singleton