BY MARTI MAGUIRE
News & Observer Correspondent
As the oldest of 12 children growing up in a family that struggled financially, Sharita Whitaker knew from an early age that education would lead the way out of poverty.
She was the first in her extended family to attend college, and had her first child while earning her degree. Still, she graduated summa cum laude from N.C. State University, and magna cum laude from N.C. Central University’s law school.