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Homeless and Hardships Didn't Stop North Carolina Teen From Pursuing His College Education


Incoming Freshman, Tra’Quan Cunningham Beats the Odds and Is a
Member of the B-CU Class of 2020
Recent high school graduate and North Carolina native, Tra’Quan Cunningham will be an incoming freshman this fall. Tra’Quan has an amazing story of overcoming obstacles youth may relate to but have never shared. As an adolescent, Tra’Quan had a turbulent upbringing. He moved from home to home living with friends and close relatives. It was not until his current mentor, Trevor Beauford reached out to Tra’Quan’s middle school seeking interest in mentoring a youth. School administration immediately thought of Tra’Quan. 

As a youth pastor by trade, Mr. Beauford mentored many youth from the Charlotte area, however, “this mentee relationship was much different,” said Beauford. Tra’Quan was embraced by Beauford’s family and they shared many conversations about life and academics. In no time, Beauford became a strong support for Tra’Quan, giving him a place to live so that he could focus on academics and learn how to become a man.“My goal was to make sure that Tra’Quan stayed on track to graduate high school and now, I am going to make sure he completes college,” Beauford said.

Tra’Quan was recruited to B-CU this past Spring during the Wildcat Experience Tours at the Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. “My mentor and I went to the college fair that weekend and I visited the B-CU table. I filled out the application and I received my acceptance to the university on site,” Tra’Quan said. After having other schools on his radar, Tra’Quan felt welcomed by B-CU students and the admissions team, which aided in his decision to become a Wildcat. “Ms. Manicia Finch has been phenomenal in the process of getting us to B-CU. We have met several faculty and staff and it has put me at ease sending Tra’Quan to B-CU. We were treated like family,” stated Beauford. As Tra’Quan prepares to attend in the fall he is expecting to study sociology and become a social worker so that he can help others succeed much like his mentor helped him.

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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