When Donna Lloyd enrolled at Paul D. Camp Community College, she had not been in school since 1975. But that didn’t hinder her desire to continue her education.
“I raised my children by myself,” said the mother of two. “After my children got their degrees, it was time for me to get mine.”
The 56-year-old Courtland resident is Paul D. Camp Community College’s first recipient of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education’s Kathy Camper Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship—an honor established in memory of a longtime employee in the Information Technology Services (ITS) Department at the Virginia Community College System. Ms. Camper was very active in PTA and loved children. One scholarship in the amount of $2,500 is awarded annually to a student pursuing a career in information technology or childhood education.
Lloyd was moved to tears when she found out that she was awarded the scholarship. “I said, ‘Is this real?’” she recalled. “In my heart, I always wanted my degree.” This was a tall order now that she discovered she no longer qualified for financial aid. Her former advisor and instructor Martha Kello, who recently retired from PDCCC, encouraged her to apply for some scholarships and wrote some recommendation letters for Donna.
“Donna is one of the most conscientious students I have ever taught,” said Kello. “She has implemented the knowledge that she has gained.
“I am so happy for her. Better yet, I am happy for all those sweet little children whose lives will be enriched by having her as a caregiver.”
Lloyd grew up in a family of six children in Ohio. As a teen-ager, the honor student babysat for families in the neighborhood to assist with supporting the family while also helping to raise her siblings. She later volunteered to work with special needs children while in high school. More recently before moving to Courtland, she operated a daycare from her home for 25 years.
“This was a way I could touch children’s lives,” she said. She has been working full time at The Children’s Center and carrying a full load at the college as well. She worked her way from assistant teacher to lead teacher at Early Head Start.
“I love children,” she said. “I want to make a positive difference in their lives.”
After completing six more classes for her associate’s degree, she plans to attend Old Dominion University to attain her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development. Lloyd praised the support she has received from her instructors at PDCCC, particularly Kello and Toni Johnson, The Children’s Center and her husband, Nolan.
She will attend the ITS staff meeting July 24 in Charlottesville, where she will meet founders of the scholarship and talk about what the award means to her. She will also be recognized during a luncheon honoring scholars throughout the VCCS on Nov. 19 in Richmond.