Odessa Gordon always knew deep down that nursing was in her soul, but as a young mother with an autistic child, she put her college plans on hold after high school graduation. She first tried her hand at it in 1985 through COA’s Nursing Assistant program at a local nursing home. At that time, it didn’t work out. Odessa tried for a second time in 1991, again through a local nursing home and stayed in the nursing assistant field for a few years. With only a certificate as a nursing assistant, she returned full-time to COA in 1994 and began taking general courses. Working full-time and going to school full-time took its toll on Odessa and she dropped out. Soon after, George C. Moore Elastic Company offered her a full-time job, but she kept working as a part time nursing assistant until 2002 when her certification expired. Eleven years later, George C. Moore shut their doors and Odessa found herself unemployed. Immediately, Odessa “knew what I was going to do.” With financial assistance from WIA, TAA, and a private scholarship, she re-enrolled in the Licensed Practical Nursing Program at COA. Graduating on July 29, 2009, her 46th
birthday, as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member, she knew she had finally made it.
When asked about College of The Albemarle, Odessa stated, “COA supplies you with so many resources. If you can’t accomplish your goals one way, there is always another route that you can take.” Odessa was concerned about returning to college after having been away for so long, but “the instructors will get you where you need to be and will give you the confidence that you can do anything.” A special thanks goes out to Lynn Hurdle-Winslow, Dean, Edenton-Chowan Campus, Susan McRae, College Success, Betty Newman, Counselor, Stella Brothers, NCESC, Melody White PN Coordinator, and Lisa Copeland, RN SNF. “All of these women have inspired me to be the best that I can be and there will always be a special place in my heart where they will stay.”
Odessa’s plans now include taking her NCLEX exam for licensure, work for a couple of years, and then come back to COA for the fourth and final time to obtain her associate degree in nursing. We have no doubt that she will succeed!
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