Overcoming Obstacles, One Student At A Time

Two students at computers

Global Logistics students Calissa Hooper and Stacy Bradley were this close to graduating. They both needed one final course, Math 110, to earn their degree. When Demetria Ledbetter, program coordinator, Global Logistics, Business Administration – Logistics Management, Import/Export Compliance, noticed that months had gone by and neither had taken the class, she contacted them to find out why.

Calissa, who works full time as a supervisor of three McDonald’s restaurants, explained her situation: “I work during the day. I’m a single mom. I have five girls; my eldest is 24 and the youngest are 9 and 11. I’m trying to balance mommy duties with the job, finishing my degree and managing everything else,” she told Demetria. “It’s hectic, but also a blessing, because my older girls help with the younger ones. But I can’t sit in a face-to-face class two nights a week. I need something online.”

Stacy’s personal situation was also the reason he hadn’t yet graduated. “I work for a third-party logistics company as an account manager. My schedule can be unpredictable,” he told Demetria. For the father of three who works in Winston-Salem and lives in Mocksville, taking an evening class was out of the realm of possibility. “With my job, commuting, the kids and the ministry work I do, I couldn’t take a class two evenings a week,” he recalls.

Were it not for Demetria, this might have been an “oh well, that’s too bad” moment. But in addition to being a passionate advocate for her students, she also grew up watching her mom, a single parent, earn her degree. “I remember my mother going to Forsyth Tech; if it hadn’t been for the instructors and the other people who helped her through it, she wouldn’t have graduated,” she says.

On behalf of her students, Demetria went into action, contacting Dr. Sharilyn Owens, Mathematics Department chair, Associate in Engineering program coordinator and Faculty Learning Communities facilitator. Sharilyn was not only receptive to the idea of creating the online math course, she made it a priority. Within two months, Mathematics Instructor Ruby Johnson had put together the course and posted it online. Needless to say, Calissa and Stacy both aced the class, and in July 2015, they graduated with an AAS degree in Global Logistics Technology.

“When the college created the course, it felt like I wasn’t in this alone. Somebody cared,” says Calissa. Stacy expresses his gratitude for Demetria. “She made sure I could graduate. That’s not something you expect at a big institution, that level of flexibility and caring.”