Roxboro Community School (RCS) alumni Ellison Craft has come a long way since her graduation in 2009.

She currently lives in Kyrgyzstan, where she serves as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. She is the Regional Office Manager for the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Craft entered RCS in 2006, when the school was founded. She was a member of the first graduating class, which was comprised of just 13 members. “Sitting on the stage at graduation means more to me now than it did then,” said Craft. “Starting a school is not for the faint of heart. Graduation was a significant moment for our community.”

When asked why she wanted to attend what was then a start-up school, Craft said she was “attracted to the smaller class size.” RCS prepared her for college and a career, she said, by challenging her to “always think outside the box. RCS is first and foremost a unique learning environment that always challenged me intellectually and made me think about what I could do to serve others.”

Craft graduated, with distinction, from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. Her major was peace, war and defense/history. She minored in Hispanic studies. She said her memories of RCS include, “Forming great relationships with classmates and teachers. Teachers were great mentors as well as friends. I always felt like the sky was the limit and anything I wanted to do was possible. I was encouraged and counseled by all teachers who gave great advice from their experiences.”

Her life now is not at all like the one she led in Person County, Craft said. “Life overseas is very different from your normal day in the U.S.,” she explained. “While there are pros and cons, every day is always an adventure. I always wanted a job that would allow me to travel and have a unique working environment. Working at the embassy is very rewarding and allows me to work with great people. We recently celebrated July 4; our biggest event of the year, and hearing the U.S. national anthem played overseas is a memorable experience.”

Craft is currently studying Russian, which, she said, came in handy during the July 4 event at the Kyrgyzstan Embassy office. She said she would advise current RCS students against spending “too much time worrying about what might happen. There are many ways to reach your goals and the path someone else takes might not be the one for you.”