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Making it work, no matter what

No matter what your lot in life, build something on it. This is what Mark and Tiffany Rhodes are doing. Determined to improve their future and that of their four-year old son, Michael, this young couple enrolled in classes offered at LBW Community College.

Neither Mark nor Tiffany is from a family with a history of college attendance. In fact, Mark’s mother is the only one out of both families that has furthered her education. She attended MacArthur State Technical College.

With her GED completed, Tiffany planned to continue her education when their son, Michael, got a little bit older. Late summer of 2008, she walked into the LBWCC Luverne Center for more information and met Mr. Herald “Bubba” Taylor. He suggested that Tiffany should get into the Ready to Work program he teaches where she could brush up on reading, math, and English skills before enrolling in college courses. Tiffany began the program in September and graduated in November 2008.

Following the completion of the Ready to Work program, Tiffany enrolled in college classes on the MacArthur Campus with the goal of helping others upon graduation. After thinking about a health related profession, Tiffany decided on the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program. This is a new LBWCC program which began in January, 2009. Tiffany is currently enrolled in required pre-requisite courses with plans to begin actual Sonography classes in January 2010.

Traveling to Opp everyday brought a new set of challenges. Laid-off from his job in December, 2008 and out-of work until May, Mark provided child care while Tiffany traveled to her classes on the MacArthur Campus. During his time of unemployment and with additional family assistance, Mark followed in Tiffany’s footsteps and enrolled in the Ready to Work program in Luverne. He graduated with his GED in May 2009.

During this time Mark discovered he enjoyed and was good in math. After encouragement from LBWCC faculty and staff, Mark is now in the first semester of the Industrial Electronics Program. Tracy Bundrick, Industrial Electronics instructor said, “Mark has the qualities you look for in a student; he listens, asks questions, is punctual, and calls me if he has a question. The interest he exhibits is an indication he takes his educational opportunities seriously.”

Both Tiffany and Mark receive financial aid and Tiffany plans to apply for a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Grant in the spring. According to Mark “No matter the situation there is always a way to get your education.”

With current plans to work in this area in the Industrial Electronics field, Mark may decide to further his education in Avionics.

Tiffany stated, “There were times last winter when I had to wrap up in two blankets as I drove to class because the heater in the car didn’t work. I just want people to realize that no matter how hard it gets, you don’t give up because an education is worth achieving.” She plans to work in a hospital or doctor’s office in Enterprise or Troy after graduation.

For more information on the Ready to Work Program contact Mr. Herald Taylor on the LBWCC Luverne Center at 334-335-2187 or via email at htaylor@lbwcc.edu. For more information on the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program contact Ms. Susan Musgrove at 334-493-5389 or via email at smusgrove@lbwcc.edu. For more information on the Industrial Electronics Program contact Mr. Tracy Bundrick at 334-493-5348 or tbundrick@lbwcc.edu. More information about LBW Community College can be found on the college website at www.lbwcc.edu or call 334-222-6591.