Latoya Williams

Business Administration Major

As a re-enrolled graduate of Chattanooga State, I once struggled as a single parent raising three small children by myself. As a good parents wanting the best for their kids - you sacrifice, but you always keep your goals prioritized. I always said that once my children were near adulthood, I would come back for additional education. Thank goodness I have a daughter that graduated from Tyner High in 2016, a son who graduated from STEM School of Chattanooga in 2017, and my youngest child that is currently a junior at McCallie School. Currently, my oldest child and middle children attend college here at Chattanooga State, which explains that determination is  contagious--- especially when you have a single mom that encourages, participates, and understands goals and strengths.

Education is never a joke in my household based on the fact that I never actually got a high school diploma. I’ll never forget when I got my GED at Chattanooga State, an advisor asked, “Where are you going?” I said, “Catching the bus because I dont’t have the $15 to enroll.” She yelled at me to come back, gave me the enrollment fee, and said, “You will make it, and I know this!” I’m so proud that someone saw my glow for success. I graduated in 2006 from Chattanooga State with a certificate in Business Systems Technology. This is one reason why I shine brightly for education around everyone, no matter what age, race, background, etc.

Being a student worker at Chattanooga State for three years gave me tons of experience in the field of business administration. Later, I gained employment with both the State of TN Human Services and  State of TN Education departments. As a TDOE employee for seven years, it helped prepare me both professionally and ethically toward an even brighter career in education. I volunteer as a mentor for the State of Tennessee Mentor Program helping high school students and other young adults see the importance of college. My passion for education has helped me grow as I help the community and express the need to be determined. So, in 2019, I’ve added helping inner city communities with new strategies of teaching children entrepreneurship and budgeting.

Meanwhile, as a single parent you always think about the daily life expenses of paying tuition, bills, food, medical expenses, and it becomes impossible to think about paying for college for yourself. But, you know what? TN Reconnect provided two classes to me tuition-free!  What’s even greater is that after going over my transcript, I only have two more classes before I obtain another degree! Go MOM and Prioritizer! So yes, I will walk the stage again in May 2019 with AAS degree. The tuition-free program is great and you are treated like a friend and family member by generous, kind individuals; or shall I say- TEAM? Personally, I would love to thank Mrs. Barker, who is awesome!

The Journey is yours and no one else’s. Determination is contagious, so spread it wisely. Many people don’t understand that they are their own light, so shine brightly. Speaking as a single parent, if I can do it, then you can too! Don’t allow anyone to dim your light of success. We all make our own stairways and the paths to follow! Coming back to school is great! Building an educational legacy is priceless!