When Melissa Myers, Tri-County Community College nursing alumna, moved from Charlotte to Cherokee County seven years ago, she was the single mother to three children under the age of ten – two daughters with Down’s syndrome and a son barely leaving toddlerhood.
“At the time, I honestly had no friends or family to serve as a support system here,” Myers said. “I was completely on my own.”
Following her move, Myers decided to enroll in a nurse aide class at Tri-County Community College as a means of finding a stable job with a good income for her family.
“I was in an emotionally abusive relationship when I began taking classes at Tri-County,” Myers said. “Through the journey of returning to school, I began to regain my sense of self-worth and I was able to pull myself out of that toxic environment.”
According to Myers, without her initial classes and the encouragement of her instructors, she might have never continued her studies.
“If I hadn’t had that support from my teachers, I may have never found the confidence to keep pursuing my higher education,” Myers said. “After completing my nurse aide classes, I decided to enroll in the nursing program.”
In a move by faculty and staff, Myers was also selected as Tri-County Community College’s statewide Academic Excellence Award winner for the North Carolina Community College System.
At her nursing pinning ceremony on May 10, Myers also received both the Outstanding Student award from her instructors, as well as the Outstanding Student award recognition as voted on by her fellow peers.
“She is a phenomenal student and person,” said Deb Hogan, nursing instructor for Tri-County Community College. “She will make an excellent nurse.”
Myers said her children have worked as her tireless cheerleaders throughout her time at Tri-County Community College.
“My three kids are my greatest inspiration in completing my education,” Myers said. “They keep me grounded every day.”
Myers graduated with her associate in applied science in nursing degree on May 12, and said her plan is to continue her nursing education at Western Carolina University beginning in the fall.
“My ultimate goal is to work as a sexual assault nurse examiner to continue my mission of empowering women through medicine,” Myers said.
Myers, who graduated with academic honors and is a member of both the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society, said she is incredibly thankful for the second chance her educational journey has afforded her.
“Coming back to school has given me the opportunity to better my life, not only for myself and my community, but most importantly, for my children,” Myers said.
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