Early Childhood Education Student Prepares for Graduation

Early Childhood Education Student Prepares for Graduation

MOUNT OLIVE- The nontraditional programs at the University of Mount Olive (UMO) attract adult learners from all different backgrounds and provide them with the opportunity to receive a college degree while maintaining work and familial duties. In the case of Mary Horne, a Sampson County resident, UMO has done just that and has been a transformational cornerstone in her educational journey.

Horne and her husband, Samuel, have worked on their family farm together for the past 25 years.  “Although we love working together we needed to find another source of income for our family,” said Horne. “We have been in agriculture all of our lives. Our farm has been good to us over the years, but I felt a calling to change career paths. With much prayer, God answered and let me know I needed to go back to school.”

In response to her calling, Horne pursued classes at Sampson Community College. “When I first started going back to school I was 38 years old, and after the first semester I felt like I could not do it,” said Horne. “My daughter was only three and it was hard for me. When she got older, I decided to give it another try, so I started back part time. However, I kept seeing signs about UMO and the ‘one night a week’ programs, which triggered my initial interest with the institution.”

Horne then enrolled at UMO in August of 2011. She chose to pursue the early childhood education (ECE) program after helping out in her daughter’s school for numerous years.

“When my daughter Hannah started kindergarten, I got involved with the school system,” said Horne. “During that time, I found myself wanting to help children. So I started substitute teaching and loved it. I also tutored students in math and reading, so the ECE program was a great match for my interest in helping children.”

The ECE program at UMO has been a perfect fit for Horne. With such a flexible schedule, Horne is still able to help her husband on the farm, substitute teach, and care for her family. “I was able to have classes that fit my lifestyle and that was important to me to continue my life with my family, church, and community,” noted Horne.

Through her courses at UMO, Horne has not only learned the importance of teaching children, but also gained confidence with the help of the supportive UMO faculty and staff.

“UMO has given me confidence in knowing that I have what it takes to be a successful educator in any opportunity that comes my way. UMO has made it possible for me to have bigger dreams than what I initially had. Without the flexibility of classes and the guidance of all the staff at UMO, I would not have gotten this far. It is important to know that what is being done at the institution is truly transforming the lives of all who join the UMO family.”

Horne, now 49, is preparing to walk across the graduation stage on December 13, and receive her bachelor’s degree in ECE. After years of trying to find the right fit for education and juggling a busy schedule, her hard work has finally paid off with a degree. In the future, Horne dreams of making a difference in children’s lives, the way that UMO has made a difference in her own life.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit old.umo.edu.