June 16, 2016

Mary Wright

Mary Wright’s kids had a good point: If she told them to get a high school diploma and go to college so they could get good jobs, why wasn’t she taking her own advice?

At the age of 46, Mary Wright, a mother of six and grandmother of five, enrolled in the High School Equivalency program at SFCC with her three oldest children. Three years later they’ve all finished high school; her oldest daughter is in SFCC’s nursing program; her second oldest, a son, earned a welding certificate; and Mary just finished her associate degree. This fall she’ll transfer to the University of Central Missouri and plans to earn a master’s degree in social work at Mizzou.

“Coming back to school after almost 30 years was kind of a scary experience,” she says. “But I’d have to say it expanded my thought process a lot.” She learned to get comfortable using a computer, stay on top of her classes and adjust to new ways of doing things.

Despite the big changes, Mary found the support she needed at SFCC. She relied on her navigator and her TRiO advisor when things were confusing. She never hesitated to get extra help from tutors or ask questions in the computer lab. She also made friends, even with students who were decades younger. “I’m the kind of person who always talks to other people,” she says.

That openness, and the confidence that comes with maturity, might be one reason for her success. “A lot of younger students don’t feel comfortable asking questions in class,” she says. “In some ways I think I had it easier than them because if I had a question, I’d just raise my hand and ask it.”


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