27 September, 2018
Meghan Hopper is still surprised that not only does she attend Gadsden State Community College but she’s also academically successful. In fact, the fourth-semester nursing student, was just awarded the distinguished Women’s Club of Weiss Lake Scholarship for the second year in a row.
“If you would have told me five years ago I’d be where I am today, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. “I’m so happy about my place in life now and in the future.”
At 30 years old, Hopper is considered a nontraditional student – an adult learner at least 25 years old who also has a part-time or full-time job. Waiting to attend college seems to be the right decision for her, she said.
“In 2006, I went immediately to a community college in Jefferson County right after I graduated from Locust Fork High School,” she said. “There were obstacles in my way. I wasn’t ready so I ended up leaving.”
Hopper moved to Atlanta to work as a daycare teacher. Then, she ended up in Asheville, N.C., to work as an event coordinator for a health food store.
“I worked fulltime until I turned 28 years old,” she said. “Then, I knew I was ready to go back to school.”
Her mother convinced Hopper to move to Centre to live rent-free in her lake house and attend Gadsden State Cherokee.
“I was scared about going back to college,” she said. “I was afraid I wouldn’t do well. It terrified me.”
While trying to alleviate her fears about enrolling, she read about Gadsden State’s Nights, Online and Weekends Program in a local newspaper. The NOW Program gives alternative scheduling for working nursing students. Classes and clinicals are available at night, online and on weekends.
“I had planned to go back to school but I had no idea how I was going to make it happen,” she said. “It all worked out perfectly. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this program offered where I live.”
While attending Gadsden State, Hopper is working fulltime at Cherokee County Health and Rehabilitation Center, where she started as a certified nursing assistant. She now has her temporary license to work as a licensed practical nurse, a credential she earned this summer. She will take the nursing licensure and certification exam later this month.
“I don’t think I would be able to work fulltime if it were not for the NOW Program at Gadsden State Cherokee,” she said. “It has worked out great, and it is the perfect program for me.”
Paying for college is always a worry for students but, for Hopper, she has been able to secure scholarships to help with tuition and fees. She has earned scholarships through Gadsden State’s Student Support Services and from her employer.
The recent scholarship from the Women’s Club of Weiss Lake is awarded annually to a deserving female student and resident of Cherokee County attending Gadsden State Cherokee. The recipient of the partial scholarship must demonstrate financial need and academic excellence by maintaining a 3.0 GPA in all courses attempted and completed.
The scholarship was established by the club in 2013. The group is a community organization serving Cherokee County with the aim of enhancing the quality of living in the community.
Hopper is certainly appreciative of the scholarship and of Gadsden State Cherokee.
“I’m so glad I chose Gadsden State Cherokee,” she said. “I love my instructors. They are awesome. They take time to make sure we all understand the course content. Everyone is so helpful. I have had a great collegiate experience.”