Non-traditional students on track to an education - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Non-traditional students on track to an education

About 400 students are getting an education through the special populations program at Albany Technical College. (Source: WALB) About 400 students are getting an education through the special populations program at Albany Technical College. (Source: WALB)
Angela Hines was a single mother and now helps watch her grandchildren. (Source: WALB) Angela Hines was a single mother and now helps watch her grandchildren. (Source: WALB)
Hines created the centerpieces for an event at ATC on Monday. (Source: WALB) Hines created the centerpieces for an event at ATC on Monday. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Sherry Aaker is the vice president of student affairs. (Source: WALB) Dr. Sherry Aaker is the vice president of student affairs. (Source: WALB)
Bennie Hunter has been a student at ATC for the past year an a half. (Source: WALB) Bennie Hunter has been a student at ATC for the past year an a half. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Going back to school is often tough for a single parent or economically struggling student.

Albany Technical College is trying to make it a little easier for them. 

"I'm a single parent and I've raised my children and I have grandchildren now," Angela Hines said. 

Being a single-parent, Hines never had time to go back to school until now. 

"I had some hard times, I've had some illness so I had to start all over again," Hines said.

Hines is one of the 400 students at Albany Technical College who are starting all over again.

She's enrolled in the special population program that helps single parents, non-traditional and academically and economically struggling students.

"We work with students to remove barriers so that they can finish school and not not have anything interfere with their success," vice president of student affairs Dr. Sherry Aaker said.

She says the goal is to make what once seemed impossible a possibility. 

"It gives them a mentor with their hands up and hands out to help them push and shove a little bit and encourage them all the way to make them graduate," Aaker said. 

"Life is always going to throw a curve ball at us but we have to be strong enough to keep pressing on," Bennie Hunter, a student at ATC said. 

Hunter has always wanted to open his own restaurant. He's been enrolled at Albany Tech for the past year and a half. 

"They helped bring my dream back to the forefront instead of stepping on it and just trying to go through life doing it just like everybody else," said Hunter.

Hunter will complete his culinary certificate in the spring.

As for Hines, she will graduate with a culinary arts certificate this December and will get her hotel, restaurant and tourism management certificate next year. 

The program at Albany Technical College also helps students with housing problems, child care and even medical care. 

If you're interested in joining the program you can call the program director Carla Jester-Harrell at (229) 430-6144 or email her directly. 

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