ECE Graduate Motivated by His Students

ECE Graduate Motivated by His Students

RTP- William Jones of Smithfield has his sights set on graduating from the University of Mount Olive (UMO) in August with a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education (ECE).

As a young adult, Jones dreamed of becoming a teacher.  “I have always loved working with children,” he said. “In high school, I volunteered with the Special Olympics.  Watching the children try their best at competing, and then seeing the smiles on their faces, inspired me to become a teacher.”

Jones has been employed as a lead teacher with Primrose Schools for 12 years.  “I love working with young children because I am their first step into academics,” he said.  “I am the one that teaches them math, science, phonics, and literature.”

Jones admits that he was inspired by the children in his classroom to further his education.  “I watch my kids learn new skills every day,” he said.  “They motivate me to do better both in the classroom and in my life. Not a day goes by that I do not learn something new from one of my students.”

Jones enrolled at the University of Mount Olive at RTP in January of 2012.  Along the way he has had the support of family, friends, and the UMO faculty and staff.

“The staff and professors at UMO are always interested in what you have to say, and they are always there when you need them,” he said.  “They have pushed me and motivated me to become more than I thought I could be.”

Jones is especially appreciative of the encouragement given by Adjunct Professor Melissa Williams.  “The assignments can get hard and lengthy, and sometimes it seems overwhelming,” he said.   “However, Ms. Williams always encouraged me to work hard and to never give up.”

To anyone thinking about returning to school, Jones feels it is never too late to achieve a degree.  “I am going to walk across the stage at age 43 to receive my degree, and it feels better than anything you could imagine,” he shared.  “You are never too old.  Age is just a number!”

Jones resides in Chapel Hill.  He plans to continue his education by pursuing his master’s degree in education at UMO in the fall.

“The feeling I get from knowing I am making a positive change in my kids’ lives is amazing.  The joy they give to me is more than I could ask for. It is not all about academics, but also about making sure my children are ready for the next step in their lives,” Jones concluded.

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