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Adult Learner, CCC&TI Graduate Headed to Ivy League

Published: 12/21/2023

In January 2021, Adrienne Childres of Lenoir was returning to school as an adult learner at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. Two years later, Childres is packing her bags for New York City, where she will be working toward her bachelor’s degree in the Ivy League.

“To think that, in my mid-40s, I am going to be attending an Ivy League university is astounding to me,” Childres said. “I am enormously grateful for the opportunity.”

Childres completed her Associate in Arts degree from CCC&TI in mid-December. Right after Christmas, she will move to New York City. She will begin classes on Jan. 17 at Columbia University, where she was accepted into the School of General Studies as a transfer student. Her plan is to complete her bachelor’s degree, most likely studying history, with hopes of attending law school.

As an adult learner with a full-time job, Childres decided that CCC&TI and online courses were the best choice for completing her 2-year degree. The decision allowed her to work at her own pace and the support she received from CCC&TI faculty and staff were key achieving her goals.

“My experience at CCC&TI was very positive,” Childres said. “Everyone that I have interacted with is genuinely invested in the success of students. … I am proud of the work I have done to get to this point, but I have not been on this path alone.”

The latest help comes from the Foundation of CCC&TI, which chose Childres as this year’s recipient of the College Transfer Award. She won the $1,000 prize based on her hard work and accomplishments at CCC&TI.

“She worked her butt off,” said Matt Williams, an English Instructor who recommended her for the award and wrote a letter of support for her Columbia application. “She is embarking on a big journey, and I’m so excited for her.”

Aside from moving from North Carolina’s quiet foothills to the “City That Never Sleeps,” Childres is anticipating several adjustments. She’ll be without a car for the first time in her adult life and will instead have to depend on public transportation. She’ll also be going without many of the things that area residents take for granted, but there’s one thing she will not miss out on.

“I am packing a case of Duke’s mayonnaise to take with us, because there are some things we don’t compromise on,” she said with a laugh. “In truth, there will be challenges ahead that I can’t even anticipate at this time. But there will also be excitement, new discoveries and an adventure I never imagined having.”

CCC&TI wishes Adrienne Childres the best of luck in her educational journey. She serves as an excellent example to learners of all ages that with hard work and determination there is no limit to what someone can achieve.

Matt Williams, Andrienne Childres & Marla Christie

CCC&TI graduate Adrienne Childres, center, is presented the $1,000 Foundation of CCC&TI College Transfer Award by Foundation of CCC&TI Executive Director Marla Christie, right, joined by CCC&TI English Instructor Matt Williams, left.