The newest Esther G. Maynor Scholar is from Gaston County and has family roots in Pembroke. Family history played a role in her decision to attend UNCP.
A future mathematics teacher, Berri Nicole Locklear is UNCP’s sixth Maynor Scholar. It is the university’s most prestigious scholarship, and she is an outstanding student as well as a well-rounded individual.
In high school, Locklear participated in theatre, student government and the teacher cadet program. She coached youth basketball, participated in her church’s Youth Praise Team and was second runner-up and voted Miss Congeniality in the Miss North Gaston Pageant.
Honors College Dean Mark Milewicz said Locklear is a great fit for UNCP and the Honors College. “Berri perfectly captures the academic excellence and spirit of UNCP's Maynor Scholars,” he said. “Not only does she excel academically, but she is well-rounded and service minded.”
In an interview two days before classes began, there is one class that Locklear said she is especially excited about. “I am very excited about Calculus II. I want to be a math teacher and eventually teach at the college level,” Locklear said. “With my Advanced Placement score, I placed out of Calculus I.”
But mathematics is not why Locklear chose to come to UNCP when she had other choices. Her grandparents moved from Pembroke to Gastonia 40 years ago to work in the mills. She is named for and is a descendant of Henry Berry Lowrie, the most famous hero of the Lumbee people.
“I chose to come to Pembroke because of the American Indian Studies program,” Locklear said. “I didn’t grow up here. I want to study our history, so I can connect with my family’s past.
“Growing up, we visited Pembroke three or four times a year,” she continued. “We always came for Lumbee Homecoming. I really enjoy it.”
Locklear will have the opportunity to learn more about Henry Berry Lowrie, but her real hero is her mother. A single mom, she raised two girls and “always provided for us and was at home for us. Going to college is a lot harder for my mom than for me.”
In recommendation letters, Locklear’s high school teachers point to many outstanding characteristics: “smart,” “organized,” “incredible leadership skills” and “maturity” among others. The one characteristic that stands out above the others is “hard working.”
“I don’t give up easily,” Locklear said. “I always push myself to do better. I took the most challenging courses in high school. I’ll ask for help if I need it.”
Locklear added that she focuses on her weakest areas, including writing. Without question, humility and thoughtfulness are part of Locklear’s package. “I don’t like talking about myself,” she said. “I am more of a backstage person.”
During the first few days on campus, Locklear is looking at a world of possibilities, but getting involved one step at a time. “On Sunday, I went to church across the street (from the university) with my mother,” she said.
“Getting involved in theatre would make me really happy, and I’d like to volunteer in the community,” she said. “In my first semester, I’ll focus on my studies. Then, when I get adjusted, I’ll look for more things to get involved in.”
The Maynor Scholarship is renewable for four years and provides funding for tuition, fees, room, board and books. It was established by the late Esther G. Maynor, a Pembroke native.
For more information about the Esther G. Honors College at UNCP, please contact them at (910) 521-6841, or email them at email@example.com.