A Wallace Community College instructor with 52 years in the classroom has been honored for her work in adult education.
Linda McCoy of Dothan was recently named Adult Education Instructor of the Year by the Alabama Association for Public Continuing Education and Adult Education. McCoy teaches in the Adult Education Department at Wallace Community College and said her 14 years in adult education has been her most rewarding assignment.
“I enjoy getting to know my students,” she said. “Each one has a story. They come from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Those backgrounds are very real to McCoy, whose first assignment came in the newly integrated Girard Middle School in Abbeville in 1967. After retiring with 28 years in middle schools and high schools in Alabama, McCoy realized she was not ready to leave the profession. She taught six years more in Georgia before coming to Wallace in 2007.
Through adult education McCoy says she can still mentor teens while also assisting adults of all ages. Despite their age differences, McCoy notes her students share one common goal: to improve their lives.
“Right now, I have students from 18 to 71,” she said. “Adult education is a place where people can come for a second chance, but I get more out of it than they do. It’s life changing.”
McCoy recalls story after story of adult education changing students’ paths. One is a lady in her 60s who lost a lifelong job when the Abbeville West Point Pepperell mill closed in 2007. She had abandoned school in the 1960s to work in the mill. With no high school diploma, the aged worker worried she would never find another job. She enrolled in the WCC program, completed her GED, and received relief funds for college classes. McCoy recalls, “She called me and said, ‘It’s a miracle!’ She was so excited about getting that high school diploma.”
Another student designated as special needs had dropped out of high school as a single mother.
“She was afraid of math, but we worked through that,” McCoy said. Also, the girl’s father frequently left her at the library to study. “She basically taught herself to read. She went on to enroll in college, and I remember she made all As her first semester.”
All of McCoy’s students are likewise impressive, she said.
“They are all hardworking, smart, and dedicated,” McCoy said. “Adult education is a special program. I love it. This is the best job I’ve ever had.”
Information about the adult education program is available at www.wallace.edu.