Christal Cannon Success
GED® Graduate and HRD Program Success
GED® Graduate credits HRD Program
Christal Cannon remembers, “When I was a little girl all I wanted to do was find paper and pencil and practice printing letters, and later I printed words and sentences. I would watch my mom studying and writing her homework, and I wanted to do exactly the same things she did.”
Today, Christal’s enthusiasm about writing, reading, and learning continues. Her love of learning has been one element leading to her educational success; however, Christal also exuberantly credits the abundance of free support services that are available through Mayland’s Human Resource Development (HRD) department.
Christal first attended Mayland Community College in 1999, when she enrolled in the free GED® classes. Christal left high school when she was sixteen years old. Two years later, she married and assumed the responsibilities of wife, homemaker, and the loving mother to two stepsons.
For twelve years, 1999-2011, Christal found herself in a cycle of starting and stopping her GED® studies. There were extreme challenges in her young life, but Christal was no stranger to adversity. She had learned from her parents (Laura and Tommy Hughes) to view problems not as stop signs, but as guidelines.
Christal says her mom has always taken care of people, beginning with her dad who had the muscle-brain nervous system disorder, Dytonia. When her sister Patricia was twelve years old, she was also diagnosed with Dytonia.
“Mom had worked at Baxter for years when Dad was ill. At the same time she was rearing her family, working at Baxter, and caring for Dad, Mom was also studying for her GED® at Mayland. She successfully graduated from the GED® program and hoped to continue her education in the nursing program. But Dad died, Patricia’s condition worsened, and Mom knew she had no choice but to find a way to both personally provide around-the-clock medical care for Patricia and at the same time to make a living to provide for her four younger children. So, Mom took and passed the CNA class and became a certified caregiver. And for nine years, she has not only taken care of Patricia, but has also continued to help take care of other sick people when I am at home to watch after Patricia,” Christal shared.
When Christal’s marriage ended, she and her little girl moved in with her mom and Patricia. Once again Christal returned to GED® classes at Mayland. “My mom would drive me to and from Mayland to work on my GED®. She would say, ‘Christal, the only way you’re going to pass this is to study hard and to pray about it. God will help you.’”
Christal shared that as she drew near to finishing her GED®, she realized that she wanted to keep going beyond GED® classes and get more education. “GED® and HRD are fresh, great starters for anyone returning to school,” Christal said. “With God’s help and much hard work, I will graduate next spring with my Associate degree in Business Administration, but I’m not stopping with an Associate degree.
“The person at Mayland Community College who has encouraged and helped me the entire time I’ve been on campus is HRD coordinator, Jennie Harpold. After graduating with my GED®, I was able to enroll in her HRD classes at no cost. Jennie encouraged me to continue my education by enrolling in Mayland’s college curriculum classes, and we discussed my various options. Still today, a year later, every time our paths cross, Jennie stops to talk with me and ask how I am getting along in my classes. She really cares and takes the time to show students that she is available to point them in the right direction to get the extra help they need to have a successful educational experience.
“Under Jennie Harpold’s guidance and support, I am continuing to benefit from Mayland’s SOAR program, WIA (which helped me with summer tuition, scholarships and Financial Aid services), Career Readiness classes, and the Administrative Professional class. There are just so many opportunities for quality support if you have the ‘right person’ to guide you to those resources…Jennie Harpold is that ‘right person.’”
“HRD classes help me make informed, wise choices about which way to go with both my educational and vocational decisions. Jennie told me when and where to go and who to talk to. She knew how to help me find the right people who could answer my questions. She helped me learn how to ask the right questions and how to process the information I receive in order to gain valuable benefits.”
“In one of Jennie’s continuing education classes, Administrative Professional, I learned that I was indeed headed in the right direction with the career choice I was considering. I learned that in today’s world, employers want more than just a secretary or administrative assistant. They are searching for someone with strong people skills, problem solving capabilities, and the ability to think and reason independently, and yet possess a positive supportive team spirit.”
Christal continued, “In this same class, Jennie encouraged us to allow Mayland personnel to help us prepare in advance for the College Placement Exam and to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. She kindly guided me through the entire process. Jennie’s HRD classes prepare students to go out into the real world. The skills we learn in her classes can be used to improve our everyday life, whether it’s at home, in the classroom, or on the job. It’s like God sent her here to Mayland to help me and other students. To Jennie, students are not just a number. You can tell she really cares. She’s like an angel!”
As for her future, Christal hopes to have the opportunity to get some good experience working in an office after she successfully completes her degree in Business. Following the office experience, Christal plans to earn a degree in Human Resources so she can help others like Jennie Harpold has helped her.
Others may be speechless as they hear her testimonies of faith and prayers, endurance, perseverance, and hope when all odds would seem stacked against her. But, in the meantime, Christal will be enthusiastically carrying on with confidence, demonstrating the wisdom, spiritual strength, and unshakable steadfastness in God, given by her parents. And, if you want to know just how wonderful Mayland Community College and its employees are, just ask Christal Cannon at any given moment.
Don’t be surprised if she makes reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11, “The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.”
For more information about the Human Resources Development Program at MCC and qualifying for classes at no charge, please contact Jennie Harpold, HRD Coordinator, at 766-1293.