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Family finds success with community college foundation

Published Wednesday, November 9, 2016
by Elizabeth Townsend

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The Harford family believes in the community college system, sending all 7 children (6 to Piedmont Community College) to take advantage of the higher education and lower tuition.

The most recent to attend Piedmont Community College (PCC) from the Harford family was Elise. She enrolled in Career and College Promise classes during the 2015-16 academic year and was the youngest student in chemistry instructor Bruce Wilson’s program. Elise went on to earn PCC’s 2016 Outstanding Chemist award and was entered into the PCC “Chemistry Hall of Fame” after earning an “A” in both General Chemistry I and II.

Elise is currently enrolled in Durham Tech Community College (DTCC) and expects to graduate in May. She hopes to continue her studies at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in biomedical engineering. When asked about her PCC experience, Elise said, “I am so thankful for the time I had at PCC. I especially loved it because the people are so nice and want you to succeed in life.”

Five of Elise’s siblings also took classes at Piedmont Community College. The Harford Kids, from left to right: The Harford children: James, Christina, Joshua, Deborah, Matthew, Elise and Joel.

Joel studied on the Person County Campus for two years before continuing his education at NCSU. There he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Accounting. Joel went on to receive his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary and is currently working as a business manager and developer for a medical distributorship.

Joshua, who also completed two years at PCC, went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from NCSU. He is currently enrolled in medical school. Joshua shared, “For me, PCC was a place of invaluable transition between the relative shelter of high school and the rigors of my undergraduate engineering degree. Simply put, PCC helped me build a foundation of knowledge and confidence from which I have been growing ever since.”

Christina was enrolled at PCC for one and a half years, finishing her Associate in Science degree at Durham Tech Community College (DTCC). She then completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and is currently working as a software developer at Bank of America.

Brother and current graduate trainee for Halma Holdings Inc., Matthew, completed two years at PCC before earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from NCSU. “Piedmont Community College exposed me to college-level courses for the first time and gave me confidence to continue pursuing higher education,” he shared. “I am grateful that I received the opportunity to learn from caring instructors who invested in my future."

Deborah, who studied health sciences over the course of a year and a half at PCC, earned her Certified Nursing Assistant II Certification. She is currently enrolled in DTCC pursing her Associate in Arts degree. She hopes to transfer to UNC-CH and study linguistics.

James, the only Harford child to not attend PCC, decided instead to attend DTCC for two years. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and MBA from UNC-CH. James is now a management consultant for A. T. Kearney.

“As you can see,” commented their mother, Linda Harford, “we felt PCC was a great find!! The teachers and faculty were so personal, helpful, and interested in the success of the students. After such a positive first college experience, all of our kids have been well equipped to go farther with their educational and life dreams. We really appreciate everyone at PCC so much.”

Photo: From left to right: The Harford children: James, Christina, Joshua, Deborah, Matthew, Elise and Joel.