Each year, one student from each community college throughout North Carolina is chosen as an Academic Excellence Award Winner. Students are recommended for the award by members of the college’s faculty and chosen based on both their academic record and other factors that make them stand out from the crowd. This year’s Academic Excellence Award Winner at McDowell Tech is Andrea Creech.
A few years ago, Andrea Creech lost her job, a stressful event in and of itself. At the same time, her husband received a job offer which involved out-of-town travel. He took the job, leaving Andrea to care for their elementary-age children.
“I suddenly had an 11 and 7 year-old depending on me for everything,” she said. “I was missing my husband and my kids were missing their dad.” That whole situation added to her stress.
But Andrea rose to the occasion. She and her husband discussed her employment situation and decided she would go back to school. As she put it, “…my loving husband gave me the opportunity to go to college. I was a 38-year-old, going back to school after twenty years.”
But she did more than return to school for a college degree; she decided to get two degrees! “I decided that I was not only going to finish my Associates in Business Administration, but that I was going to and get my Associates in Accounting, too,” she said.
The decision to go to college and get two degrees while her husband worked out-of-town was well-worth the stress and extra effort it took, said Andrea. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and show my kids that you are never too old to work for what you want.
“This situation has caused my family to work together and become closer than we ever were. I feel so very blessed…to be graduating with not just one, but two associate degrees. None of this would have been possible without my family and I can never thank them enough,”she said.
On behalf of the faculty at McDowell Tech, Dr. Penny Cross, Vice-President of Learning and Student Services, offered her congratulations to Mrs. Creech. “We are very pleased to name Andrea for this honor. She has worked very hard and persevered to achieve her dreams, earning not just one, but two degrees from McDowell Tech.
“We hope her story can be an inspiration to others who suddenly find themselves out of work and facing difficult decisions about their future.
“Come back to school and train for a new and better job.
“Andrea did it, and so can you!”