When he was a senior at Person High School, Kent met the new Piedmont Community College (PCC) Transition Coach, stationed right there at his school. It was the first time that having challenges in life led him to opportunity, as he and his family learned about the TriO and NextGen programs at the College.
The NCWorks NextGen program, available in both Person and Caswell counties, assists youth, ages 16-24, with earning their high school equivalency credential, enrolling in college courses, and finding a job. Those with financial need or experiencing hardships qualify for assistance.
With that assistance, as well as direction from PCC’s TRiO/Student Support Services staff, Kent began his journey in higher education.
“Everyone at PCC was a huge help,” Kent recalls. “They helped me with classwork and supported me while I was there. It made me want to try harder because I knew they would ask how my grades were and how I was doing.”
In high school, Kent admits he did not try too hard. “If we had homework due, I would probably do it on the bus that morning. But at PCC, I began spending more time on my schooling. Now I’m constantly in my books and focused on my studies.”
The guidance Kent received from PCC staff members in the NetxtGen and Student Support Services (SSS) areas motivated him to do his best. With free academic counseling and tutoring services available, he knew where to find a helping hand. In addition, when Kent decided to continue his education, the staff aided with college transfer details to help him make a decision that best fit his needs.
“My dad has really encouraged me. He tells me the sky is the limit. And watching my brother working in his own business has made me realize that you’re always learning new material—that you’ll never be done with learning.”
Kent’s mother was also supportive and assisted her son in learning about registration and purchasing books. “I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in now without her. She researched the transfer program and guided me through the process.” Knowing he had this strong support system, Kent chose to transfer to Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) to study Sports Management.
“At PCC, I was able to take classes like history, English, art appreciation, and pre-calculus. All of the credits were accepted at Elizabeth City [State University]. It was really helpful to get started at PCC.”
ECSU is an NC Promise school, meaning that North Carolina residents pay only $500 per semester for tuition, thus dramatically reducing college expenses. Combining a degree from PCC with an NC Promise School ensures that a student will not pay more than $10,000 for his or her entire degree. Kent is well on his way to a bright future as he has learned many valuable lessons through his NextGen, PCC, and ECSU experiences.
Karen Peterson, NextGen Youth Career Coach at PCC, commented, “NCWorks NextGen assisted Kent with selecting the right classes, allowing him to seamlessly transfer to Elizabeth City State University. Watching Kent grow and become more productive in the classroom was very special. It’s exciting to know that you’ve provided the type of support that encourages a student to develop a career path and continue his education to get there… in Kent’s case, that direction is a career in the sports marketing and announcing!”
Let an NCWorks NextGen counselors at PCC help you with:
• Career interest assessments/career development
• Job preparation/job seeking
• Resume building activities
• Training/skills building for specific career path
• College preparation/tours
• Work-Based Learning, including On-the-Job training, Internships, and Job Shadowing
• Counseling services
• Financial Literacy education
• Supportive Services, such as transportation
For details, contact:
Person County: Karen Peterson at Karen.Peterson@piedmontcc.edu or (336) 322-2188
Caswell County: Bree Broadway at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 266-7672. You can also learn more at www.piedmontcc.edu/nextgen. For additional information about TRiO and Student Support Services, visit https://www.piedmontcc.edu/trio or call (336) 322-2132.
Photo: Kent Cash, Jr.