Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nick Stanley

Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nick Stanley

July 11, 2024

Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Nick Stanley

By Emilly Hernandez-Rivera, External Affairs Intern

Nick Stanley, a Golden LEAF scholarship alumnus, was born and raised in Pasquotank County, N.C. He currently works as the director of bands at his high school alma mater Pasquotank County High School.

Stanley attended East Carolina University, which was close to home and had the same rural feel that he knew and loved. This was a major selling point that led him to the decision of attending ECU. 

“It seems like everybody knows everybody,” said Stanley. “But, I wouldn’t change it. I’ve loved living in a small community. It was my goal to come back to someplace like this to work and live.”

From a young age, Stanley knew that he wanted to teach music, a passion that grew with the help of his middle school band director and other mentors. 

“Playing for my church has had a major influence on my career as a music educator and musician,” said Stanley. “Some of the people I would call my mentors have been musicians at my church.  I am currently a musician at my church, and I fill in as our worship leader from time to time.”

He studied music education at East Carolina University and played for the ECU Marching Pirates for two years. His band received the opportunity to play at an NFL football game and the United States Naval Academy, as well as in front of 50,000 people at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium at ECU.

Stanley works with the three band programs: the marching band, jazz band, and symphonic band. He also teaches a guitar course, a ukulele course, and works with the high school academically and in extracurricular support roles.

Aside from his band director role, Stanley is very active in the local community, where he receives so much support behind his music program and his students. 

“The community is really behind what we do,” said Stanley. “My community wants my students to have a first class experience because ‘they are first class’. That is something that makes me want to get up and go to work.”

Stanley not only lives and works in Pasquotank County, he gives back to the community as a volunteer firefighter with the Pasquotank-Providence Volunteer Fire Department.

“Being a firefighter is a great opportunity to serve my community, especially since it is the one I have lived in my entire life,” said Stanley. “Helping people on their worst day is something that I love to do.”

It was Stanley’s parents who found out about the Golden LEAF scholarship through a student services bulletin board and encouraged him to apply. This scholarship allowed him to meet the President of Golden LEAF several times at events at East Carolina University, as well network with other Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients and build on these relationships. He recognizes the immense value of the Golden LEAF Scholarship for rural communities.

For the future of rural Northeastern North Carolina, Stanley remains hopeful that these rural areas will not only stay as they are, an important part of the economy, but that they will continue to grow and prosper.

“I know my community well,” said Stanley. “A lot can be learned here, where I am.  I have new opportunities to further myself, my career, and my students.”

 

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