Teresa Weldon's Story
Everett Community College student Teresa Weldon was nominated by the EvCC Board of Trustees for the state's 2012 Transforming Lives Award, which recognizes students or graduates who have turned their lives around by pursuing higher education at a community or technical college. This is Teresa's story.
By Teresa Weldon
Before I started college, I had been in an abusive relationship for six and a half years as well as being addicted to drugs for most of those years. My self-worth was down to nothing. I had been told repeatedly how worthless and unintelligent I was. I finally found the courage to leave him and I quit using drugs cold turkey and have been clean for almost 15 years now. It took me a few years before I felt like I was worth anything. I became a single mother in 1998 and I wanted more for my daughter. I decided that I would go to college to help my daughter and I have a better life and I wanted to show my daughter the importance of an education. I did not want her to have the same kind of life that I had.
When I started college in Spring Quarter 2009, it had been almost 20 years since I graduated from high school and my self-esteem was almost nonexistent. I started school through the Workfirst program to get off welfare. It was very intimidating to come back to school after being out for so many years. I felt like I was out of my element and I did not believe I would do very well.
However, at the end of my first quarter I received a 3.33 GPA, at that time I was working toward my Medical Billing Certificate. I attribute my success here at Everett Community College not only to my own hard work, but to the great instructors I have been lucky enough to learn from. The instructors I have worked with have been very caring and compassionate. The instructors have always made it clear that they are there to help us in any way they can. All of these wonderful, dedicated people are always cheering me on and hoping the best for my future.
My family is a great support system for me, as well. My daughter and I live at my parents’ house right now so that I may focus more on my classes then worrying about the rent. My daughter tells me how proud she is of me all the time. She is even doing better in school herself. I am trying to be a positive role model for her to learn from. This year she is passing all of her classes and won an award for leadership at her school; I am so proud of her. I believe she is doing better because she is seeing how important education is from witnessing what I have been able to accomplish in the past two years.
For close to two years, I have been a part of Student Activities; I have served on the Associated Student Body Senate for the last two and a half years and ASB Executive Council, the first year as Vice President of Clubs, and I am serving on the Executive Council for my second year as Vice President of Administration. I love being involved with Student Activities and learning more about Everett Community College. My self-esteem has sky rocketed from being more involved with this school and my cohorts. The advisors in the Student Activities Office are phenomenal people. They are extremely encouraging and continuously there for support and guidance. I have learned to be a better leader and colleague by being more involved with school.
I now know that I can do anything that I set my mind to. As long as I have the faith and commitment in myself and the willingness to put in the hard work I can achieve my dreams. I have had the opportunity to speak in front of a large audience, chair meetings, and work with fellow classmates as well as working with the faculty, staff, Vice Presidents and the President of the college. From my experience, all of the people I have had the opportunity to work with have been encouraging and supportive in everything I do.
I have enjoyed attending Everett Community College so much that I changed my field of study to the ATA in Business Technology and I just completed that degree in June 2011 along with a total of 7 certificates in various office related fields. I have since decided to continue my education; I am attempting to receive my DTA in Human Services with Everett Community College and then transfer to Western Washington University for my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services.
Along my way I have won a $300 dollar scholarship, the "Distinguished Student Service" Award at the annual Student Activities Awards Banquet. I am also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and starting in the Winter Quarter of 2012 I will be working as mentor through The Mentor Project at Everett Community College. I truly love attending Everett Community College and I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had. Everett Community College is more than a school to me; it is like my extended family.