BLEEDING CAROLINA BLUE: No. 1 for UNC Class of 2023 hails from Stanly County

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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UNC has always been No. 1 for Avery Carrick.

Now she is No. 1 for it.

Carrick received official confirmation this month that she ranked No. 1 in the spring graduating class.

“When I first found out the class ranking, I felt very grateful to have achieved this goal,” said Carrick, who said she also graduated first in the 2021 class at North Stanly High.

“It has truly been an honor to have the opportunity to learn from exceptional professors alongside other top students,” she added. “I have always challenged myself to use the opportunities given to me in order to learn and grow to the greatest extent possible.”

Avery Carrick found out in July that she finished No. 1 in the spring 2023 graduating class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Contributed)

Carrick said she knew it was possible she would be ranked No. 1.

“I had maintained a perfect GPA with A’s in all my courses. UNC Chapel Hill does not give A+ in classes to buffer GPA scores, so even an A- will lower overall GPA,” she said. “Even though I speculated I could finish at the top of my class, it was not confirmed until final rankings were released in mid-July.”

With her future goals in mind, Carrick said it was important to her to put forth “effort, dedication and determination.”

“My goal was not necessarily to finish first in my class but to give my best effort in order to learn and grow personally and professionally,” she said. “Because I would like to continue my education in a doctorate program, I realized that I would need to be committed to my academic endeavors to make this future goal possible.”

Since she entered UNC with her Associate of Science degree through dual enrollment in the College and Career Promise program at Stanly Community College, Carrick, 20, was able to finish her undergraduate degree in exercise and sport science in two years. She minored in food studies.

“I feel like this achievement would not have been possible if it were not for the people in my life, such as my parents, grandparents, aunts and teachers, who knew the importance and value of education and really encouraged me to become well educated,” she said. “From a young age, I can still remember my grandmother taking me to the public library to participate in the summer reading program and my mom creatively challenging and encouraging me to complete math facts and workbooks.

“I have had many teachers over the years that made a profound impact and really helped foster my love for learning in the classroom,” she added. “These people have all had a significant impact on my life and have influenced the way I value education.”

The love of Carolina blue runs in the family, as both of her parents are graduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Since kindergarten, I knew that was the school I wanted to attend,” she said. “My parents have always encouraged me to give my very best in all I do in the classroom and beyond. They instilled a strong work ethic and a drive in me to succeed academically that would allow me the opportunity to attend this university.”

Besides classes, she was involved with Summit College, Habitat for Humanity and Phi Epsilon Kappa – Iota Beta, the exercise and sport science fraternity at UNC.

“Summit College is one of the many college ministries on campus and it provided me the opportunity to meet many of my friends when I first arrived on campus,” she said. “I just recently completed an 8-week summer mission program through the Summit Church serving both locally, nationally and internationally.”

Carrick plans to use the next year to finish prerequisite courses and gain necessary shadowing hours to apply to doctor of physical therapy programs. She wants to become a physical therapist.