Ashley Bradshaw grew up wanting to teach elementary school and was on her way as a student at James Madison University. A personal matter forced to her to cut her time there short after just one semester, but she wanted to keep her education on track.
Taking classes at Tidewater Community College helped her do just that, and she returned to JMU as a junior. Now Bradshaw, who is completing her student teaching at Southeastern Elementary in Chesapeake, is nearing completion of a master’s degree in teaching, also from James Madison.
“I was working two full-time jobs and was able to go to school and class,” she said. “TCC was the only way for me to continue taking classes.”
Bradshaw carefully planned her schedule to be able to complete the majority of her classes online, which gave her the flexibility to hold down multiple jobs.
What she didn’t anticipate were two unexpected perks that came with her education at TCC. Her financial aid made it possible for her to leave the college without any debt; Bradshaw even received money toward her books.
In addition, she saw a flyer adverting a scholarship toward the Career Studies Certificate in Child Development totaling up to 12 credits. “I applied and was stunned when I was accepted,” she said.
Bradshaw attended classes on Saturdays for a year and a half and earned the certificate, which allowed her to get a pay raise at the day care center and some of that credit transferred back to JMU. While she knew she’d be able to complete her general education requirements at TCC, the added courses in her major were a bonus.
“When I returned to JMU, I was able to graduate on time,” said Bradshaw, who earned her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary liberal studies. “TCC allowed me to keep up with my school work on my own time and worked around my life. It worked out great.”