Erin Raines, who graduated from Danville High School in 2002, now lives in Atlanta and has worked for Parker Executive Search since 2013. It’s an executive search firm that recruits for academic and sports leadership positions in higher education. She got her bachelor’s degree in finance and graduated from law school at the University of Tennessee. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, watching sports and traveling.
She talked about her journey with Danville Schools, particularly how her education prepared her for college.
Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
I attended Hogsett Elementary and then Bate Middle School, and then Danville High School, of course. A highlight — there were lots of highlights. I was in lots of clubs in high school. But I remember one specific time I was in third or fourth grade, and I had the opportunity to go to the state capitol and shadow a representative session. There was a newspaper article about it years ago. I still remember doing that. In high school, our AP U.S. History class would go on a camping trip every year, and that was fun. And obviously, all the sports activities — basketball, football, track — all my involvement there was fun.
What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
I think when I left high school, I wanted to go somewhere no one knew me because I had grown up with everybody knowing who you are and who your family is in the neighborhood and community. Looking back on it, I realized that the connection you had with your teachers, with your fellow classmates, with other people in the community, is not something that you always find. And even now when I come back home, when I see people in the community and they still remember me, that’s a very unique thing. I have friends who come from bigger cities and big parts of the country, and they don’t really have that connection, so I still think it gives me a connection to home even though I’ve been gone for 20 years. The connections and relationships I had growing up — I still have those today, or they still are important.
Even though I came from a small place, I feel like the education I did get, the relationships and experiences I had — whether it was academic or extracurricular — helped me to kind of navigate the world, a much bigger world, and I think it inspired me to go out and see what else the world has to offer, but also at the same time, I’m appreciative of the connections I built and had when I was 12 years old, that those people still remember you, and it still feels like home.
When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
I think I would just say the overall experience is always very grounding to me, no matter where I am, now that I’m living in a much bigger place in a much different environment than what I grew up in. Some of those values I learned in school in terms of hard work and reading and doing my work and that sense of work ethic that I had has still carried me through since graduation.
I think the rigor of the courses I took, particularly in my AP classes, really helped prepare me for college, and it really helped me understand about studying and going to class and being a self-starter and really being able to handle that kind of workload, because we had a lot of work in high school in some of those AP courses. The overall rigor of the coursework taught by the teachers, particularly in high school, really did help me for college, because a lot of times college was a breeze, and I think it was because of that.
As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
I definitely think that the Danville school district is a very strong one and would certainly encourage, from what I know, parents to choose the district. I would also say yes, to take an AP course or two just because I do think it prepares you for college more than one might think or recognize in the moment, even though it is a lot of hard work. I think it becomes a lot easier post-graduation. What I probably didn’t take advantage of as much, but parents should probably encourage, is more experiential opportunities, particularly when it comes to jobs or what you might want to major in. So finding those types of opportunities so you can get that experience, I think would be helpful.
As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
My nieces are in school locally to me, so I’m kind of learning more about the current landscape of the district because they’re there, but I do volunteer with a group organization that works with a high school and mentors young girls and high school-age girls, so I give back in that way with the high schools here.
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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