Student-worker-mother Tyquanna Ratcliffe is mission-focused on pursuing her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Facing financial challenges that would otherwise make higher education unaffordable, she recognizes the unique opportunity to earn a degree that is paid for by the PASSHE Professional Development Organization (PDO). With one semester already under her belt at Westmoreland County Community College, Tyquanna is currently enrolled in three more courses and is fully engaged.
A single mother of four-year-old Jhana Lebbie, Tyquanna credits her daughter as a significant source of inspiration. “She asked me why she was in school and her daddy was in school, but I wasn’t. That really moved me to take action.”
Tyquanna says the coursework she’s taken has resulted in greater patience and understanding of behaviors that are age-appropriate for children. Working as a floating staff member at Each One Teach One Family Center in Greensburg, PA, Tyquanna interacts with children from six months of age to school-aged children.
Determined to graduate in summer 2022, her academic pathway is planned out. Now, she’s keeping her eye on the prize with the support of her instructors. WCCC’s Dr. Brandi Weekley and Dr. Tammy McMillian [who also leads ECE Apprenticeship Programs at Carlow University] are among the instructors who have been instrumental in motivating Tyquanna. “The instructors are fabulous. They motivate me to be my best,” she says.
Pleased to know the tutor.com resource is available to her at no cost as a PDO-sponsored student, for instance, Tyquanna sees the success formula the PDO has created for students. “With this support system, there is no possible way I can fail at this. If you want it badly enough, the help is available to get you through. Go for it!,” she says. The PDO team wishes her and all students success, and encourages those considering this educational opportunity to follow Tyquanna’s advice.