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HCC-ECSU Teacher Prep Students Maintain Straight A's to Graduation

Teacher Prep graduates from left, Connie White, Sheri Chang and Bobby Corley

They were first in line to receive their diplomas. Three students from the Halifax Community College-Elizabeth City State University Teacher Prep program had the chance to march across the stage at the ECSU campus and receive their credentials on May 3. Graduates Sheri Chang, Bobby Corley and Connie White graduated from the program—and not only that—they each graduated with a straight “A” average.

“We really pushed each other,” said Corley. The three were previously HCC students and benefited from the partnership. They were able to take classes at HCC and online throughout the program, which saved a lot of traveling time.

Chang graduated from HCC in 2006 with an Associate in Arts degree and went straight into the Teacher Prep program. “I really want to make a difference in the lives of children,” she said. Chang had been a substitute teacher for about two years in the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District before beginning the program. She continues to work as a sub and hopes to find a full-time K-5 teaching position soon. Ultimately, she plans on earning a master's degree.

“Being able to be at home was a huge benefit,” she explained. Chang has a family with two children so going back to school was not an easy thing to do. A Roanoke Rapids resident, she felt this was a good program, especially for people with families, since it is close to home. “And that helps, especially with the gas prices,” she added.

Corley, who was an honor student and a math and English tutor while at HCC said that Teacher Prep is a good program. Currently serving as a substitute teacher for Halifax County Schools, he has aspirations of becoming a full-time math teacher in the fall. Corley earned an Associate in Science-Teacher Associate degree in 1995 from HCC. He entered the Associate in Arts—Teacher Prep program in 2004 and transferred to ECSU in the spring 2006.

He had been a teacher assistant for Halifax County for 10 years when he decided to go back to school. “I promised my grandmother that I would finish my education and become a teacher. She has passed on now, but I kept my promise,” the Emporia, Va. resident said.

White was also an HCC graduate in the 2006 class, earning an Associate in Arts degree and going straight into the Teacher Prep program. “I've always wanted to be a teacher since I was a young child,” she said. “I always had a passion for it.” The mother of three found it difficult to balance life and school demands, but not impossible.

Also a substitute in the Halifax County School System for three years, White aims to earn a doctorate before she considers her formal education finished. A resident of Roanoke Rapids, White enjoyed learning about the different philosophies and methods of teaching. “It was a well-rounded education. We were exposed to all types of situations,” she added.

She enjoyed her observation time and her student teaching including her time working with exceptional children. She described her elation at seeing the knowledge click in her student's minds. “I loved it.” White really appreciated the one-on-one contact with the HCC and ECSU instructors during the program. “It was hectic, but it was worth it and very rewarding.”