Dutcher Overcame Fear of Failure to Become First Graduate at GCC
As the first graduate of Tri-County Community College’s Graham County Center, Toni Dutcher was a pioneer, overcoming her own fears and meeting challenges she had never imagined.
After working as a substitute teacher for ten years, the school system began requiring an associate’s degree.
Dutcher was scared even to think about going back to school, but that changed when she talked with representatives from TCCC during career day at Robbinsville High School.
“They kept insisting that they believed in me and they finally convinced me that there was nothing wrong with trying,” she said.
What Dutcher found was a love of education and a new confidence in herself.
“People looked at me differently because I achieved this,” she said. “They noticed me more, and it was a life-changing confidence booster for me.”
Dutcher also credits Tri-County with changing her attitude and goals about work.
“I gave me the confidence that I could apply for more challenging jobs and that I could achieve something higher,” she said.
She calls graduating with an Associate’s degree in college transfer one of the best moments of her life.
“When I walked across the stage and was announced as the first graduate of the Graham County Center, I felt powerful that I had achieved this dream,” she said.
Now an assistant for the exceptional children program for ninth and tenth grades at Robbinsville High School, Dutcher has not ruled out getting her bachelor’s degree.
“You never know what might happen in the future,” she said. “I think about it.”