New GED and Adult Education Scholarship Keeps Dreams Alive

Angela McQuillaDreams really do come true. Angela McQuillia’s dream will come true this May when she graduates from Paul D. Camp Community College with an associate degree in business administration. McQuillia is the first recipient of PDCCC’s GED and Adult Education Scholarship, which provides those who recently earned GED credentials (Certificate of High School Equivalency) with scholarship dollars to earn a PDCCC career studies certificates, associate degrees, and/or certificates in areas ranging from welding to business and technology.
 
Reaching this goal would not have been possible without her persistence, support from her family, and the help of PDCCC guidance counselor Dr. Alan Harris and Dean of Student Services Mrs. Trina Jones.
 
“I cried when they told me I was awarded the scholarship and all I needed to do was take one class,” she said, “I am a hard worker and overcame a lot of barriers along the way. I worked at my church all my life in leadership roles and raised a family while working different jobs.”
 
McQuillia attended Lakeland High School, but she and her best friend skipped school almost every day to “just hang out and do nothing,” she said. “I just didn’t want to go to school.”
 
Someone from the school came to her house to check on her one day, and this was the last straw. “My mother and aunt told me they were fed up. I had to either go back to high school and graduate or get a job if I wanted their help.” McQuillia was in twelfth grade, when she gave birth to a son. She was only 18 years old and already had twins; so, she dropped out of school.
 
This is when her educational journey began. Over the next 20 years, McQuillia earned a certificate in cosmetology from Suffolk Beauty Academy, became a Personal Care Aid (PCA), worked for a “temp” service, earned her GED at Pruden Vo-Tech Center, and took classes at Paul D. Camp Community College, as well as another local community college.
 
The GED scholarship was the final shot in the arm she needed to earn her associate degree. “Dr. Harris and Dean Jones told me to not give up. They were going to search for a way to help me,” said McQuillia.
 
“I would have never made it if it hadn’t been for them and the challenging teachers at PDCCC.” She credits Ronette Jacobs, who gave her a good foundation in writing, and Martha Harrison and Dr. Justin Oliver, who ensured she fully understood the basics of math before she moved on. “They cared about me and told me not to quit.”
 
After taking several courses at another community college, she returned to PDCCC to get the one-on-one help she experienced before at the Hobbs-Suffolk campus. She knew immediately she was in the right place at the right time.
 
McQuillia, currently employed as a receiver at a local Walmart distribution center, is an elder at her church. Her twins are now 20 years old and she has a 17 year old and 14 year old at home. Earning her degree will open doors for her, so she is glad she has been focused and determined to succeed.
 
Her ultimate dream is to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and own her own business. She believes, “The key to success is to stay faith based. God wants us to keep the family strong, because faithfulness takes away peer pressure and low self-esteem.”
 
The GED & Adult Education Scholarship is part of PDCCC’s Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative, which has two parts: 1) GED & Adult Education Scholarships and 2) Career Coaches at high schools in PDCCC’s geographic region. Both programs are made possible by the generosity of community and business donors.
 
For more information about the scholarship visit www.pdc.edu/scholarships. For more information on financially supporting RVHI, contact Renee Felts at 757-569-6760.
 
To learn how Paul D. Camp Community College can help you achieve your dreams, call 757-569-6700.
 
For more information, please contact
Nancy Warren
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
nwarren@pdc.edu
757-569-6748