PDCCC grad continues education, enhances career at Children’s Center
It seems fitting to compare 60-year-old Paul D. Camp Community College alumna Donna Lloyd to an Olympic runner. After all, she has cleared more than her share of life’s hurdles. And in the midst of those challenges, Lloyd has worked a full-time job doing what she loves — all while earning two degrees.
“I raised my children by myself,” said the mother of two, who also helped raise her own siblings. “After my children got their degrees, it was time for me to get mine.”
Her academic journey began at Paul D. Camp, where her advisor, now retired Martha Kello, inspired her to continue her studies. Lloyd earned a Child Development Associate credential that was required for her job at The Children’s Center where she taught and an associate’s degree in early childhood development from PDCCC in 2014. She was 57 when she graduated community college.
“As an older student, I was from a different generation with different ways of learning, so I appreciated the people at PDCCC who supported me, mentored me and assisted me,” she said.
Lloyd was the college’s only recipient of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education’s Kathy Camper Commonwealth Legacy Scholar, which came at a time when she discovered she no longer qualified for financial aid.
“In my heart, I always wanted my degree,” she said. “This allowed me to finish my studies.”
Lloyd continued her academic goals by attaining a bachelor’s degree in human services at Old Dominion University, graduating in December 2017 with a 3.98 grade point average.
Aside of being a non-traditional student, other challenges arose during Lloyd’s college experiences that would test her diligence and commitment. Her husband discovered he had cancer, her 18-month-old grandson was diagnosed with a sensory disorder, her mother passed away, and on top of all of these hardships, she was diagnosed with breast cancer during her internship semester.
“We beat my husband’s cancer,” she said. “I stay positive and know that we will beat my cancer, too!”
The Home Visitor for Early Head Start said that for her, the Early Childhood program was a success and that she uses what she learned every day while assisting families in the community. A typical day for her involves a visit to three to four clients with pregnant mothers and/or children under 3 years old. She assists with setting personal goals, such as those dealing with education, employment and budgeting.
“The staff at PDCCC is still available to me for questions, resources and advice,” she said. “Part of my job with helping families move forward positively in their lives is to provide assistance with enrolling in college classes. I have recommended PDCCC to many young students and have had eight families enroll in classes in the past two years.”
Lloyd is proof that no matter what obstacles come your way, you can work through it and still finish college.
“Be positive and follow your dreams,” she said. “PDCCC is a great place to begin your journey.”
WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Paul D. Camp Community College. Contact her at email@example.com.