We'd received the monthly job listing--it came in the mail back then--and my co-workers and I were hanging out in the Student Center, talking about the latest openings in the NC Community College System.
"Of course I'm applying!" One guy said. "It's ABTech."
We all swooned a little bit. A job at ABTech was what everyone wanted. First of all, it was in Asheville, a beautiful city in NC's Mountain region, not in the relative flatlands of the Piedmont region where we lived. But it was also renown for its quality programs and outstanding faculty.
That was 21 years ago, six years before my husband and I moved our young family across the state to Buncombe County. Right away, I began looking for employment at ABTech. Life interfered and circumstances blocked the way, but ABTech never fully dropped out of my sight. In fact, over the years, I took every opportunity to chat with ABTech personnel, speaking of my appreciation for the college and of my desire one day to join the faculty.
Last fall, it finally worked out. Now, I teach three sections of ACA: an orientation class that introduces and reviews the habits of successful students. I love it. Completely and absolutely love it.
At ABTech, I get to teach all kinds of students: traditional college-aged kids who are just starting out; older adults who, in their twilight years, have decided to follow their dreams; those down on their luck who have chosen once more to pull themselves up and start over; and with people who had given up or given out, and yet still took a chance that this time, they just might succeed. Getting to know these overlooked heroes is a joy and a blessing.
Twenty-one years ago, I knew that I would love ABTech. I was right. Today, being with ABTech students is one of the things that fills my heart with gratitude.
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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