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A Family Affair: The Cole Family

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From left: Victoria, Gibson, Claudia and Alex.

They say, “there’s no time like the present,” and for one Nash Community College student, Claudia Cole, her return this semester has turned into a family affair. What makes her return unique? She’s doing so alongside her son, Gibson; daughter, Alex; and future daughter-in-law, Victoria.

In 2019, Claudia graduated from NCC with an Associate in Applied Science, Medical Office Administration degree. However, she has continued to work as a full-time employee with the Department of Environmental Quality. “I really enjoy the scope of work and work/life balance, so I never pursued a career in the medical field,” explained Cole.

Since childhood though, art has always played an important role in her life. With a renewed interest and having completed a few commissioned paintings, an Associate in Arts degree has become her next pursuit. With one degree in hand and the next in sight, she’s glad to be back learning more about her passion.

While already an accomplished painter, a formal art education should take her to the next level as an artist. Cole’s desire is to further develop and refine her skills and possibly launch a career as a professional artist. One of her main interests is painting pet portraits for family, friends and clients.

What about the children? After graduating from high school in 2015, Claudia’s son decided to go back to school to pursue an Associate in Science degree. After NCC, he would like to attend East Carolina University and plans to major in architecture. Her daughter, a 2020 high school graduate, is working towards dual degrees at Nash Community College. She plans to earn an Associate in Arts as well as an Associate in Science, then transfer to Western Carolina University. She is interested in pursuing a degree in criminal justice. Her son’s fiancé has a love for creating Epicurean delights, so she made a decision to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts.

NCC has been an integral part of Claudia’s family for quite a few years. Her son and daughter, both graduates of Northern Nash High School, were proud members of Northern Nash’s marching and concert bands. As such, they volunteered to play in the concert band at NCC graduation ceremonies. “I recall walking across the stage in 2019 while my daughter played Pomp and Circumstance,” explained Cole.

When asked if there were any shared classes, “I am not currently in any of the same classes, but my son and daughter shared a class last semester,” said Cole. Since they are all working while going to school, they each understand the complexities of maintaining a work/life balance while pursuing an education. “My kids have a built-in accountability system to track each other’s progress and offer help when needed,” Cole continued.

The College’s close proximity to their home in Red Oak made choosing NCC an obvious choice. Learning with students of all ages, along with the diversity and energy that is present in every class has made her time at NCC particularly enjoyable. “From my very first day, I have felt right at home on campus and truly feel NCC employees have an interest in helping every student succeed,” said Cole.

It is never too late to follow your passion and pursue those long-dormant dreams, a lesson Cole learned all too well. “I’ve learned to value the importance of fun and leisure outside of the daily routine, to always make time to enjoy life and to savor every experience in and out of school,” explained Cole.

For the Cole family, education has truly become a family affair and NCC has been at the center of their educational pursuits. “I want to thank Nash Community College for helping make this family’s dreams come true,” stated Cole.