South Mecklenburg High School
Becka Tait says she was initially inspired to volunteer as a mentor for students after reading the book, The Last Dropout: Stop the Epidemic! by Communities In Schools’ national founder Bill Milliken. “I was reading and studying about dropout prevention at the time, and after reading Milliken’s book, I truly believed that the comprehensive approach he developed was the best model,” said Tait. “Shortly after that, my sons’ school, South Mecklenburg, became a CIS site.”
Tait is now in her fourth year of volunteering as a mentor to CIS students at South Meck and also serves as a CIS Liaison to the school’s PTSA. One of her sons has graduated, and her younger son is now a senior, but Tait claims she really enjoys volunteering for reasons that don’t necessarily have to do with her sons attending South Meck.
“I believe every person, every student, has value,” said Tait. “But for too many students, they have not had enough, if any, people tell them that. By being there in the school, getting to know the students, they can know that when I tell them they have potential, it’s based on really getting to know them. And even through the challenges, I get such positive energy back from the students as they progress and achieve.”
Tait currently mentors two students, Kayla and Sharon. They meet for about 45 minutes each week to discuss the girls’ academic progress, their college and career goals – and what they need to be doing now in order to make those goals a reality. She also serves as a wonderful personal resource for questions and concerns they may have, whether related to college and career, or really any topic that may be affecting them.
Michelle Lair, the 11th-12th grade CIS Site Coordinator at South Meck, says Tait was the first parent she met on her first day working at South Mecklenburg three years ago. “From that point on, she has been our biggest resource and our biggest advocate,” said Lair. “She has done everything from making copies to chaperoning field trips to buying winter coats for students in need. Whatever I need, whenever I need it – she is there for both me and the students. Becka Tait is a CIS site coordinator’s dream.”
Tait is a pediatrician who has specialized in general pediatrics for underserved and special populations. She is currently the consulting pediatrician at Thompson Child and Family Focus. She and her husband, David, have two sons, Andrew and Charlie.