Anna Brooks is a wife and mother of two grown children and she and her husband live in Clinton. Brooks has always had a passion for music and sings with a local gospel group. After being out of high school for 30 years, Brooks decided it was time to follow the dream she had held on to for so long… to earn her college degree in music.
“Taking the first step to become a Roane State student was the most difficult one for me because I just didn’t know what to expect or whether or not I could do it,” said Brooks. “But once I realized ‘Hey, I can do this,’ I knew nothing would stop me from reaching my goal. Plus, it helps that everyone here at Roane State is there for you. The professors and the staff members are always willing to assist me with whatever I need.
“After I earn my associate degree from Roane State, I plan to transfer to a four-year university and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music.”
Brooks said she encourages other adults who have the desire to earn their college degree to believe in themselves. “I’ve learned that if it’s something you really want for yourself and you’re willing to do the work, taking that first step toward your goal will give you confidence and you too will find you can succeed.”
A married father of three, Shawn D. Van Horn of Harriman returned to school at Roane State at age 42 to improve his career opportunities. He finished his associate degree from Roane State, a bachelor's degree from Tennessee Tech, and plans to pursue a graduate degree.
“Roane State provides its students with excellent educators. They have high expectations for their students but are willing to provide assistance to those in need. I began classes expecting the worst and was surprised to find I could do what was asked of me. My fears and anxieties were quickly replaced with a love and appreciation for education. With the help of caring instructors and fellow classmates, I not only passed my classes but excelled at them.”
At age 51 with his new Roane State Community College associate degree in hand, Thomas Chartrand said he has learned a valuable life lesson.
"When anything gets hard in life, you can't give up," the Oak Ridge resident said. "If you give up, you'll never have a chance to reach your goals and dreams."
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