Teresa Terrell's Triumph: A journey to graduation with MCC's C2C Program 

Joining in the Complete2Compete celebration are Dr. Tom Huebner, Ginger Crawford, Teresa Terrell, Marquita Brewster, Lolita O’Neal, Shaquita Alfonso-Hopson, Dr. Cedric Gathings, and Stephanie Bullock, director of strategic initiatives at Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

When Meridian Community College alum Teresa Terrell returned to her alma mater for a reception, she was eager to talk to President Dr. Tom Huebner. 

Specifically, she wanted to shake his hand and thank him.  

"One day last year, Dr. Huebner spoke at my church, and the message he spoke touched me tremendously," she said. 

Terrell explained she began her higher education journey right after high school in 1990, but unexpected life challenges forced her to quit school and focus on her family. Her desire to finish what she started remained, though. "I started to come back – I just had to take classes one or two at a time." 

"But I had a determination to graduate college," Terrell said. 

Dr. Huebner's encouragement prompted her to return to her studies in earnest. "I not only wanted to succeed for myself, I wanted to succeed for my children. To be proud of myself, to let them be proud of me, to let them see that no matter how old you are, you can still accomplish your goals," she said. 

At 53, Terrell received her associate of arts degree from MCC in December 2023, marking a significant milestone in her academic journey and life. Besides her academic achievements, Teresa has served at the Children and Youth Division at Weems Community Mental Health Center for over 15 years, demonstrating her commitment to her community. 

Central to Terrell's success was MCC's Complete2Compete (C2C) program, designed to assist adults who have started but have yet to complete their college education.  C2C is a statewide program, and over the past four years, it has assisted more than 2,300 Mississippi adults to return to college and finish their degrees. 

 I was grateful for C2C," Terrell said, adding, "I would not have been able to graduate without C2C."  

MCC's C2C staff, including Shaquita Alfonso Hopson, associate director of military and veterans services, and Ginger Crawford, evening services coordinator, played crucial roles by consistently supporting Terrell, answering her questions, and ensuring she had what was needed to complete her degree requirements.  

At the reception, Terrell and other C2C participants, Marquita Brewster, Lakeesha McFarland, Lolita O'Neal, Adrian Hopkins, Hattie Epting, and Summer Harrison, were celebrated and presented with special graduation honor cords. Brewster and McFarland earned their associate degrees in nursing; O'Neal earned her business office management technology diploma, and Hopkins, Epting, and Harrison earned their university transfer diplomas.  

Terrell was grateful for the recognition at the reception. "Even though I didn't attend the ceremony in December, we're here, and I didn't expect this one. God's grace has brought us to this point," she said. 

She added, "I let Dr. Huebner know what he is doing here at MCC is awesome, including the rest of the staff who have helped with this C2C process. They were amazing. I wouldn't trade the C2C staff for anything."  

Visit meridiancc.edu/c2c for more information.