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Early Childhood Student Finds Balance and Success at BTC

September 20, 2018

Balancing a campus job with being a full-time student seems to be the norm for many college students today. The norm for Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) student Noel Jones also includes volunteering and raising her five children between the ages of 2 and 10. Jones entered BTC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program in August 2017 and plans to graduate in May 2019.

Jones, a 2006 graduate of Beloit Memorial High School, is a role model for her children and everyone around her. She recalls accepting the award for Student Worker of the Year in 2017 with her oldest son in the audience. Through tears, she said, “I remember him telling me that he was proud of me.” She continued, “I went back to school and I want my kids to know it is never too late to pursue their hopes and dreams.”

She is a fine example for her peers and is often sought out for her warmth and kindness. Lead Early Childhood Education Instructor Michelle Weirich said, “Noel is an amazing woman. When she was a work-study student in our ECE Lab last school year, students would flock to the lab during her hours to be with her.” Weirich went on, “She has never used her personal situation as an excuse not to be prepared for class.”

As a mother of five young children, Jones balances school, work, family, volunteering and more with grace and a positive outlook. Weirich considers Jones the unofficial cheerleader of the Early Childhood Education program. When a fellow student had to drop a class, Jones reached out to make sure he was all right, reassuring him that his classmates were concerned and would miss him in class.

This caring touch is what Jones plans to bring into her in-home daycare after graduation. Knowing firsthand the challenges of being a working parent, Jones is looking forward to helping other parents by providing an affordable and caring environment where children can learn and grow.

When students are stretched thin it may be easy to crack under the pressure. “She is an amazing student, a wonderful parent and all around just one of the most positive, motivated and engaged students I know,” said Social Science Instructor Rubina Jan.

Jones credits the staff at BTC for much of her success. “Everyone is helpful and wants me to succeed. They work around my schedule as a mom.” She encourages anyone who may be considering a return to the classroom and offers some advice. “Too often we put things off. There is no perfect time. Don’t wait to pursue your dreams.” That is great advice coming from the woman pursuing hers.  

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