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My Story 9

Success Stories from Catawba Valley Community College

Pam Ussery, of Hickory 
‘86 Fred T Foard High School
‘06 CVCC Associates in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
Director of Children’s Academy I, Hickory NC

Pam UsseryI graduated from Fred T. Foard High School in 1986 and went straight to work for Children’s Academy I Daycare in Hickory as a teacher for four and five-year-olds. I had taken a child care program in high school and I knew that was what I wanted to do. It was my calling. The job paid $3.85 per hour so you know it was a calling! I was so excited.

After working as a teacher at the daycare for five years, I became an assistant director. During those years, I took several continuing education classes at CVCC and I earned a certificate. Even though I had a lot of years of experience in my job, I really learned a lot in the classes. I knew I needed to go ahead and get my degree. So, I started school full-time at CVCC while still working at the daycare.

I loved the classes and the teachers! My favorite class was Infants, Toddlers and Two-Year-Olds. I learned so many different ways of doing things that my staff at the daycare and I never knew. I brought all sorts of ideas back and used them on the job every day.

I took four classes a semester. I took classes at night and during breaks during the day at the daycare. I spent all day Saturday doing my homework and studying. I learned you have to apply yourself to get what you want. “If you want what you want, you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do.”

It was hard. It was scary coming back to school after so long. But, I knew as long as you have goals, apply yourself and get organized in a way that makes it click for you, you can do it. I took a combination of Internet classes and seat classes to fit everything in.

In 2006, I earned an associate’s degree in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. I was so happy and proud when I walked across that stage at CVCC to get my diploma.

I recommend CVCC all the time. I encourage my staff to come here, in fact I have five staff members coming to CVCC for classes now, on my recommendations.

My daughter Alicia, and my husband Kevin, are coming to CVCC now. My son is transferring to CVCC next year from an out-of-state college.

When my husband finishes his degree, I am going back to school myself and transferring to ASU to get a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. My goal is to own my own daycare center and then go teach in the public school system. I am CVCC.