HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The 2017 graduating class at Wallace State Community College included the first students to take advantage of the new online format for the Child Development Program. Nathaniel Butler, Lucy Michaus Chavez and Amy Hill were among the cohort of students graduating with an Associate in Applied Science in Child Development from Wallace State.
Butler, who is an Oneonta City Councilman and a longtime coach and mentor to children in his community, went back to college after moving back to Blount County from Maryland. His job there in county government was eliminated due to downsizing, and he wasn’t’ able to find similar work in Alabama.
“That’s when I decided to re-educate myself for industries more suited to this local economy, he said.
Calling on his background of coaching children, Butler chose to study Child Development at Wallace State. “I realized my new career should focus on instructing children or somehow be related to my community service,” Butler said. “My work with kids in my hometown gave me a clear direction on which to build my new educational journey.”
Butler completed that journey this month, and plans to use his degree toward his long-term goals of being a high school coach and owning his own preschool, which will be sports oriented to teach children the fundamentals of athletics. His goal, he said. Is to instill the same good values in youth today that he learned as a kid participating in sports here in Alabama.
“As a coach of youth sports, I teach fairness in competition, sportsmanship, strong worth ethic, and how to work together as a team,” Butler said.
The online format for the Child Development program at Wallace State was surely a benefit to Chavez. As the mother to four children ages 4 months to 9 years and working three jobs, finding time to come to scheduled classes could have been close to impossible.
Dr. Marcie Hill, head of the Child Development program, said Chavez made the extra effort to come to campus to meet about classes and to participate in activities. “That, along with the self-discipline required for online classes, has set her apart,” Dr. Hill said. “Whatever Lucy does, she goes the extra mile.”
Chavez shares the credit for her success with her husband, who kept the household running while she studied. She already has her sight set on furthering her education, with plans to become a certified ESL teacher.
Amy Hill first entered the nursing program at Wallace State, but realized after the first semester that nursing wasn’t for her. Her answer for a career, however, wasn’t too far away.
Hill has been working for a local preschool for five years and realized she loved working with children and helping them grow, and develop, and learn new things, so she switched her major to Child Development.
Hill said the online format helped her to work full-time at Little Saints Preschool at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Cullman, and as a lifeguard at a local pool.
Hill said everything worked about better than she expected, and she’s found a career instead of a job. She plans to move to Tampa, Fla., next month and already has an interview lined up at a daycare there.
The Child Development program at Wallace State offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree that can be completed in five semesters. Stackable certificates are also offered, which can be applied toward the AAS. Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential is also offered, which can be completed in one to two semesters.