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PCC Helps Steve Wallace Transition from Textile Plant to Second-Grade Classroom

Steve WallaceFor 17 years, Steve Wallace worked for a textile plant in Hamilton, N.C. But the world as he knew it changed in 1999, when the company he was working for closed its Martin County facility and left him unemployed.

Instead of growing despondent, Wallace decided to take advantage of a negative situation by pursuing a new line of work – education.

Through tuition assistance from his previous employer, Wallace enrolled at Pitt Community College. He went on to earn an associate degree from the school’s Early Childhood Associate program two years later.

“I believe it was a gift from above,” says Wallace. “Pitt was there, and I had great help with everything I needed.”

Wallace, who served as a Student Ambassador at PCC, said his instructors and Pitt administrators were always ready to lend a hand. “I appreciate everything that they did for me there,” he said. “… They gave me a start.”

With a two-year degree under his belt, Wallace was hired as a teacher’s assistant at Northwest Elementary School in Greenville and was selected in 2007 as Pitt County’s Teacher Assistant of the Year

Upon completing weekend courses at Barton College, where he earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree with a Concentration in Elementary Education, the 46-year-old Wallace became a second-grade teacher at Northwest.

“I want to make a difference in the lives of our young people and teaching gives me the avenue that I need to do so,” Wallace said.

Looking back, Wallace says his journey from textile plant to classroom was “a great blessing.” He credits his PCC education with helping him make a successful career change by having the right people in the right places.