Virginia Lee, 25, of Maumelle, and her younger sisters, Anna-Bel, 22, and Grace Chambers, 19, of Sherwood, are the only set of three sisters to participate in the scholarship program since it began in 1976.
“We’ve had plenty of siblings, but this is the first time we had a set of three all go through the program,” said Amber Wolf, program coordinator.
Every year, approximately 225 first-time freshmen are admitted to the program, which is designed for high school leaders active in extracurricular activities and their community. CLC Scholars receive a financial package totaling up to $32,000 through a four-year renewable scholarship. Participants complete at least 15 hours of community service every semester.
In 2010, the Chambers family history with the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps began when the oldest sister, Virginia, was considering going to college.
“I was looking for scholarships, and one of my childhood friends told me about the CLC,” Virginia said. “When my mom found out this program was based heavily on volunteer work, she helped me apply. I had done a lot of volunteer work through high school, including a reading program and Hearts and Hooves.”
Before enrolling at UA Little Rock, Virginia and her sisters were home-schooled, which made her nervous about attending college. However, CLC scholars attend orientation programs on campus the week before classes start, which helped Virginia adjust.
“I can’t imagine going through college without the CLC,” Virginia said. “The CLC provided me with friends and a good support system. It helped me with the anxiety of starting college and provided me with a sense of community.”
In 2013, when Virginia was a senior, the second sister, Anna-Bel, followed in her sister’s footsteps. Throughout her time at UA Little Rock, Anna-Bel found a love of volunteering with children.
“I volunteered with ‘Our Kids Read,’ a reading program at Bale Elementary,” she said. “I also did a lot of volunteering at Our House, the homeless shelter, in their day care.”
For the past three years, Anna-Bel volunteered in Nicaragua, where family friends serve as missionaries at a preschool with an after-school program.
“The school is in a very poor part of the city, and they serve 300 kids every day,” Anna-Bel said. “It’s a crazy atmosphere but a lot of fun. The kids don’t care if you know how to speak their language. They just want you to push them on the slide, blow some bubbles, and be shown some love.”
Anna-Bel’s passion for working with children led to her future career choice and a major in social work.
Oldest sister Virginia proudly graduated from UA Little Rock in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and a minor in sign language studies. She next earned a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and now works as a speech pathologist for Allied Therapy.
By 2016, it was a foregone conclusion that Grace, the baby of the family, would also participate in the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps.
“I had to finish off the family tradition,” she said. “I had seen all the benefits and the community aspect of the program. That is what I have grown to love. I know somebody in all my classes, and it is a very comforting thing to know you have a familiar face. It was a blessing for me since I had so much information from my sisters.
In her freshman year, Grace volunteered in Race for the Cure and Miracle League, a special baseball league for kids with disabilities.
“I worked with a little girl that was 3 or 4 and was in a wheelchair,” Grace said. “She was just so excited to be out and part of the team. I love working with kids.”
Grace completed her freshman year with a 4.0 GPA. Though she has not selected a major, she is considering a future career in the dental field and will spend the summer working as a nanny.
As for her older sister, Anna-Bel graduated from UA Little Rock in May with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She is planning to spend the next year working as a nanny before beginning the master’s program in social work at UA Little Rock in 2018.
All three of the sisters are thankful to the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps for providing them with a pathway to afford college. Their father, who is a 1994 graduate of UA Little Rock, is proud that all three of his daughters went to his alma mater and went through the CLC program together.
“My parents are in the process of starting a cleaning business,” Grace said. “Now that I have graduated high school, my parents want to build their own business. Our parents sacrificed a lot for us.”
In the upper right photo, three sisters are getting an education through the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps. Pictured, from left to right, are Virginia Lee, Anna-Bel Chambers, and Grace Chambers. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UA Little Rock Communications.