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home : community : community June 19, 2019

5/18/2019 12:01:00 AM
Wright Earns Degree Through Tenacity & Determination
Heather Wright is the 2019 graduate recipient of the Gaston College Early Childhood Education program’s GRIT award.(Photo Courtesy Gaston College)
Heather Wright is the 2019
graduate recipient of the Gaston
College Early Childhood Education
program’s GRIT award.


(Photo Courtesy Gaston College)


Stephanie Michael-Pickett, Gaston College
Director of Marketing and Public Relations


DALLAS, N.C. – Heather Wright graduated with an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Gaston College on May 10. On April 22, she won the Early Childhood Education program’s GRIT award for her ability to overcome obstacles in her life.

With one child and a full-time job, Wright enrolled as a part-time student at Gaston College in 2005. When she started, she could take only one class a semester due to her many responsibilities, and she had to skip some semesters altogether. However, she continued to push herself because she had a goal in mind. She is now a single mother with four children, ages 14, 11, 9, and 4. Her 11-year-old son is autistic and her 4-year-old is developmentally delayed and has some stomach issues. In addition to raising her children, she is the lead teacher in the 1-year-old room at the local child care center where she has worked for 14 years.



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Two years ago, Wright made the decision to become a full-time student so she could earn her Associate degree. “I finally put my foot down,” she said. “I was determined to get this done no matter what it takes.” She began taking three classes a semester and has been taking five classes for each of the past two semesters.

“I chose Early Childhood Education because so many people touched my children’s lives that I wanted to do the same,” said Wright. “If I could help one parent with the situations I have faced with my kids or could help a child with understanding things they may not, I wanted to do just that.”

Erin Brassell, Early Childhood Education Instructor at Gaston College, is extremely impressed with Wright’s accomplishments and attitude. “I learn so much from students like Heather,” she said. “How to prioritize, how to persevere, how to balance life responsibilities, how to manage time. She has an amazing ability to focus on a goal and to keep pounding until she achieves it.”

Wright is grateful to all of her education teachers. “It is because of Eileen Yantz, Robin Reilly, and Erin Brassell that I am about to walk across the stage [at graduation]. They gave me motivation and helped me through any situation I have faced.” Wright plans to transfer to Western Carolina University for a Bachelor degree in Birth to Kindergarten Education. While pursuing that degree, she would like to work with older students as an assistant teacher in the Gaston County Schools system. Her career goal is to be a kindergarten teacher.

“I never thought I’d be where I am today,” said Wright. “All of my children are the reason I am here. I did it for them and I would do it all over again. I feel so blessed to be able to say I am graduating. I feel that my kids will be proud of me and I may give them someone to look up to and be proud to call their mom.”


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