A Special Relationship Contributes to Success

Richard Belton is a very special young man. He is a talented student athlete. On February 8, 2004, the then East Chapel Hill High School senior officially confirmed his commitment to join the Wake Forest University football team. Just a few years before that important day in Richard's life, he became friends with Danica Vance. Their friendship would forever change the Vance family. Richard's mother, Pamela Belton, who Richard credits with raising him to be a "respectful and honest person", worked diligently to obtain a home for her family. The new Belton family home was, however, outside of the East Chapel Hill School district. By moving into the home Pamela had always dreamed of for her family, Richard unfortunately was forced to change schools. With Richard in the middle of his sophomore year in high school , already a prominent member of the football team, and beginning to make significant strides in his educational development, he asked the Vance family if he could live with them as a part of their family, so that he could remain a part of the East Chapel HIll High School community that had been essential in his successes in the classroom and on the playing field. With the support of the school board and his family, the Vances became Richard's guardians and welcomed him into their home. Richard has been blessed to have two families, which in many ways have become one, supporting his educational and athletic paths for the past 7 years.
It all started on the evening when the mandatory parents meeting was held for boys and girls who wanted to try out for the Phillips Middle School varsity basketball team. It was that night I met the magnificent Danica "DV" Vance. From that night on our friendship blossomed. Danica and I went from two complete strangers, to sharing a household together. I must say, I give Danica the majority of credit for my success and turning point in my lifetime. It was her who introduced me to the two most heart-warming and phenomenal people in the world: Margaret and Jeffery Vance, who are now my legal guardians. They first welcomed me into their home, then went above and beyond what anyone could have asked, guiding me towards obtaining an undergraduate degree from the very prestigious Wake Forest University. I cannot say enough about Danica, Margaret, and Jeffery. They have not only accepted me into their family, but they also welcomed my immediate family and my close friends without hesitation. It is that type of caring that makes me as an individual want to work hard and excel in everything I do.
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