Piedmont Community College (PCC) students Melanie Steele, Watcharee Jones, and Karen Wilson found success through the College’s Adult Basic Skills (ABS) program and we are pleased to recognize them during National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week!

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, celebrated September 24-30 this year, raises public awareness about the need for and value of adult education and family literacy. Its goal is to leverage resources that support access to basic education programs for the 36 million U.S. adults with low literacy skills. Advocates across the country use this opportunity to elevate adult education and family literacy nationwide with policymakers, the media, and the community.

Melanie SteeleMelanie Steele
Melanie Steele moved to the United States from England 40 years ago, and is a mother of two children and grandmother of six. After graduating from high school in England, Melanie married an American soldier which placed her career on the back-burner as she cared of her family.

When ready to re-ignite her career, Melanie applied for a position that required a high school diploma or high school equivalency (HSE) diploma certified in the United States. She soon realized to qualify she need to return to school.

After studying at PCC, Melanie passed her GED® test in February 2016 and earned her high school equivalency (HSE) diploma. She decided to continue her education at PCC and earned certificates in Phlebotomy, Certified Nursing Assistant I and II, and Med Tech.

“Before I earned my High School Equivalency diploma, it was like I was standing behind a curtain, and then after I earned my HSE, the curtain rose up and there in front of me were many options and goals for me to set for myself. Earning my high school equivalency was the key to raising the curtain on my life,” shared Melanie.

Watcharee Jones Watcharee Jones
Originally from Thailand, Watcharee Jones moved to the United States in 2010. She had many career dreams for her future but was initially frustrated because she did not understand the language, culture, or daily life in the U.S.

“Since I was a little girl, I had all kinds of dreams. I dreamed to be a nurse, a doctor, a designer, or even a detective,” shared Watcharee. “Every time when my new dream came up, I would tell my father about it. ‘I will be happy with anything you will become. All I want is for you to be happy,’ is what he always told me”.

Overtime Watcharee became a housewife and mother. “Of course my father is happy for me, but I feel like I can do better than that. I want to make him proud.”

It was then that Watcharee decided to go to school and enrolled in PCC’s Adult Basic Skills and High School Equivalency program. She wanted to prove to herself that she could be successful even though it might be a challenge. Watcharee did not want anything to stop her from having a successful life, “I want to make my family proud. I want to prove to myself, and most importantly, I want to make a better life for my family.”

Watcharee studied for and passed the high school equivalency exam, earning her high school equivalency diploma from PCC in March 2017.

Karen WilsonKaren Wilson
Karen Wilson attended PCC’s Adult Basic Skills and High School Equivalency classes offered on the College’s Caswell County Campus. Her goal was to pass the GED® exam and earn her high school equivalency diploma.

Once Karen earned her diploma, she decided to temporarily close her Yanceyville hair salon, Heavenly Essence, so she could enroll fulltime in PCC’s Business Administration program.

Karen will graduated with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration in May 2017. She plans on reopening Heavenly Essence and is confident her degree will assist her with business strategies and decision at the salon and also with her son’s car repair business.

About PCC’s Adult Basic Skills program:

Piedmont Community College’s Adult Basic Skills Program offers a second opportunity for adults who want to earn their high school equivalency degree, improve their basic skills (reading, writing, math), or learn English as their second language to be ready for work or college.

“PCC’s ABS program provides the foundation skills adults need to be college or work ready. Before a test, for college or work, contact ABS! We want to help adults succeed with their goals,” offered Debra Harlow, Dean, Adult Basic Skills Program.

The next ABS mini-mester will start with a free orientation (several dates) in early October and full classes beginning Wednesday, October 18 at PCC’s Person County campus in Roxboro. Adults may choose a day, night, or online/hybrid class that meets their need. All ABS classes are free. To save your seat or for additional information, contact Sylvia Gault at (336) 322-2155 or Sylvia.gault@piedmontcc.edu.

Photos: Melanie Steele, Watcharee Jones, and Karen Wilson

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