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Teresa McDanielCOA Success Story

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Teresa McDaniel earned her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) from College of The Albemarle (COA) in 1991, and now her daughter Michelle has followed in her mother’s footsteps.

But, that’s where their paths temporarily diverged.

Michelle enrolled in COA’s nursing program and earned her Associate Degree Nursing in 2009. This time, it was Michelle who served as the role model to her mom. Taking a cue from her daughter, Teresa also decided to pursue higher education.

In 2010, Teresa graduated from COA as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). It’s a degree she has put to use since then, working as a CNA at Waterbrooke of Elizabeth City, an assisted living facility, Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, and now, Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

The list of jobs she’s held as a CNA for the past several years easily beats the jobs she held previously, when she worked two jobs — one at Pizza Hut and the other at Golden Corral — just to make ends meet.

“My daughter was like me,” Teresa said. “She had gotten pregnant and then married. And she introduced me to the CNA program. She was my role model, I looked up to her. The roles got reversed. If it wasn’t for her, I’d still be working two jobs.”

Since becoming a CNA, Teresa has set new academic goals for herself. In 2011, she went back to COA and earned her certification as a medication aide, and in 2013, she earned her certification as a phlebotomist. In October 2016, Teresa will enroll in a Certified Medical Assisting program at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

These days, Teresa is able to save money and serve as a positive role model to her kids. In June 2016, Teresa’s son Dylan, graduated from Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City. Already, he is enrolled at COA and studying to earn his associate degree in Computer Technology Integration.

Teresa said Dylan’s education at COA completes the circle.

“My daughter opened up my eyes,” Teresa said. “I owe everything to her. And I passed the torch down to my son.”

Now, she added, her work assisting patients with their daily routines as a CNA, leaves her with a great feeling.

“I’m able to give back,” she said. “I’m able to help people. That’s what I love about this job — taking care of people.”