01/28/09 — With help of special program, MOC employees become alumni

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With help of special program, MOC employees become alumni

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 28, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Six Mount Olive College employees are now also alumni after recently graduating from the college, degrees in hand.

Completing their studies with the help of the Heritage program, an incentive effort featuring a one-night-a-week format, the group also received an educational benefits package as employees of the college, which assisted with tuition.

And while those advantages did make it easier, it was still hard work, they said.

"It was not an easy program," said Kim Johnson of Goldsboro, financial aid counselor and loan coordinator, who completed her bachelor's degree in business administration. "You had to be disciplined and structured to be able to meet all the time deadlines required in a five-week course."

Heather Braswell of Grantham, library technical assistant, earned her bachelor's degree in management of information systems.

"MOC has improved my self-worth, it has opened my eyes to so many new things," she said. "I was exposed to things I never learned in high school ... (and) the refresher math information has also helped with my son's homework."

Director of Information Technology Bob Pruett, of Pikeville, also is a parent, but his daughters were his peers at Mount Olive.

"How else could I harass my daughters for not showing up for class?" he joked.

Two of his daughters are currently enrolled at Mount Olive and another is a graduate. Pruett earned his bachelor's degree in management of information systems.

For Amanda Parker of Clinton, it may have been convenient to have the ability to juggle classes around her job as a financial aid counselor, but that didn't mean it was an easy task.

"The Thursday nights were long and the class preparation outside of class during the week was tough, but it was possible," she said. Her bachelor's degree is in business administration.

Were it not for the financial help, Amy Stokes of Grifton, administrative assistant in the Office of Planned Giving, is sure she would not have been able to obtain her degree in business administration. "Attending classes and completing assignments was stressful but not having to worry about how I would pay all the expense was not a burden because of this wonderful benefit," she said.

But it's perhaps the personal advantages that really tell the story as each continues as staff -- and now alumni -- of Mount Olive College.

"I have a new job, new friends from my class and work and a self-awareness that I can be successful. MOC has indeed transformed my life," said Winnie Denning of Newton Grove, who received a degree in business administration.