North Carolina's community colleges are creating success for students across the state.
My name is Leslie Raynor. I am 33 years old and am married to a welder. Together, we have four children. Before enrolling in James Sprunt Community College, my education level was only a GED. With employment becoming harder and harder to find, I decided to return to school.
Earning a college degree has always been a goal of mine, one which seemed unattainable until I enrolled at ICC.
My education at Haywood Community College started on a whim. I just transitioned out of the Marine Corps after 9 years of service and I received a flyer in the mail from HCC about upcoming registration for the 2012 fall semester.
Something in me changed once I entered the doors of a community college. All of my teachers were very encouraging. Upon becoming a Dental Hygiene student at Halifax Community College, I truly started to focus on my grades. I have pushed myself to make the best grades I could.
GTCC helped save my life. At 18, I joined the military, and as a result, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Left untreated, it contributed to a tumultuous twenty years. On August 7, 2013, I woke up in a hospital, suffering a traumatic brain injury from a car accident.
When moving to Gastonia four years ago, I did not know what to do with my life other than what my family has set out for me - nail business. I wanted something more to satisfy my hunger for knowledge, so I took the first step by getting my GED at Gaston College.
In early 1990, I completed a year of Auburn's architectural program, but took a leave due to financial issues. Years passed. I worked, bought a car, got married, and bought a home. Life happened and my plan to return to Auburn faded. By 2012, I was at a crossroads: divorced and frustrated.
I have always had a lifelong love of learning and upon graduating from high school in 1981, my intention was to complete a college degree, but life intervened and I found myself divorced, raising two children alone.
It has been times in my life that victory and self-esteem eluded me. Nothing I tried worked. I was starting to think happiness and success wasn’t meant for me. All of my peers had moved on in life and started careers and families, living their life to the fullest.
After graduating high school, I moved in with my sister in North Carolina. I began a gap year working retail and volunteering at a local nursing home. Though I was busy working, traveling and volunteering, I knew I wanted more – to continue learning.
In high school, I had a hard time understanding not only what the point of learning was, but what the point of life was. I felt like I was playing a game where everyone understood the rules except for me. I dropped out and fell into a deep depression.
Craven has proved to be an incredible stepping stone. When I began my time at Craven I was unsure of myself. I knew that I wanted to study English, but I lacked direction. Craven has provided me with priceless opportunities that I would not have been afforded otherwise.
Learning is an essential part of life. According to the Digest of Education Statistics at ed.gov, approximately 7.3 million people attended a two-year college in 2014. I am one of those people. I began pursuing my Associate in Applied Science Degree in Architectural Technology in August 2013.
College of The Albemarle gave me so much, I don’t even know where to begin. I came all the way from Russia to realize my dream of studying in the USA. I am so fortunate that I chose to go to the College of The Albemarle first before going to a four-year school.
Erin Pruitt of Lawndale is the 2015 Academic Excellence Award winner at Cleveland Community College. Pruitt is graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Radiography and holds a 3.85 grade point average.
At the age of 31, I decided to become a civilian and leave my Army life behind. Unfortunately, my skills at firing missiles were not in demand outside of the military. I needed more education and training to achieve my goal of becoming a biomedical engineer.
When I graduated from high school in 1989, going to college was not an option because I was pregnant with my son. I had to put my educational dreams on hold and go to work so that I could take care of him. The majority of the jobs I have had were factory jobs.
My journey through the Carteret Community College has been a very rewarding experience. Through the Radiography program, I have found a love and passion for a career and I have gained experience from opportunities I never knew I would be a part of.