When Cyril James (CJ) Worrell approached Monica Slauenwhite at an NSCC Open House to talk about the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, it was a magical moment for her.
Not because she could immediately see how passionate CJ was about the program, and not because it was rare to see a young man take an interest in a female-dominated field, although both impressed her.
What made that moment one she will never forget is the fact that, nearly 18 years before, Monica had cared for CJ at the Kingstec Campus day care while his mother earned a Human Services diploma.
“I had never had anyone I’d cared for come in and express interest in the program,” says the ECE instructor. “As we talked, I remember thinking, ‘It would be incredible if he applied because it would bring things full circle.’ It was a humbling moment for me.”
It was equally significant for CJ. “I knew that, when I was small, she took care of me. And I guess that resonated in my heart over the years because, here we were together again.”
CJ enrolled in the program in fall 2015 and says it has been a rewarding experience, and a challenging one at times.
“It’s a lot of work, and I’ve struggled with it occasionally to the point where I’m thinking I’d like to complete it in three years, not two. But I’ve had great support from both students and the faculty along the way. They keep reaching out to help me achieve my academic goals, and that constantly encourages me to see this through.”
Monica says she’s been impressed with the progress CJ has made so far.
“From the work placements to his service learning projects, he’s demonstrated a real passion for making a difference in the lives of children. I’m convinced that if he stays on this path, he will be hired in a heartbeat.”
That is the kind of encouragement CJ is grateful for. “The more I involve myself in this program and in NSCC, the more certain I feel about my decision to do this. I will draw on the support and energy I’ve found here and pass that on to the children I work with.”