DeeDee Small

DeeDee Small standing in front of the 200 Building HCC Accounting student DeeDee Small lands job as result of Co-op Experience.

Haywood Community College Accounting student DeeDee Small came back to school after realizing that 10 years of work experience in her field was not enough to get the job she wanted. DeeDee spent 10 years as a bookkeeper when she left the field to become a teacher’s aide for children with disabilities. Working with children with disabilities is a physical, stressful, and demanding job, which led DeeDee back to the bookkeeping field.

But when trying to reenter the field, she quickly determined that without a degree it wasn’t possible. “The experience I had didn’t matter to potential employers,” she explains.

This revelation led her to HCC. DeeDee had been out of school for almost 30 years before returning to the classroom. At HCC, she found the small class sizes and great instructors were just what she needed. “When you look around and see people close to your age in class, it makes it easier,” she explains. “And coming back to school is a self-confidence booster.”

DeeDee also liked the convenient location of the college. Not only was it close to her Waynesville home, it was close to her son who attends Tuscola. Her son has cerebral palsy and she knew if he needed her, she could be there within a matter of minutes.

In addition to challenges of returning to the classroom, DeeDee faces the additional challenges of caring for her disabled son, working part-time, and managing a household. “My son requires me to be there for him constantly. I have to be close by at all times.”

At HCC, DeeDee will finish her degree this May. As a result of a co-operative position she completed for her studies, she already has a job in bookkeeping. Last semester, she worked for M. Shawn Leatherwood, Architect and as a result is employed there part-time.

DeeDee is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.

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