New Bern Student Establishes Love for Teaching at UMO

New Bern Student Establishes Love for Teaching at UMO

NEW BERN- Kykky Thomas of New Bern is looking forward to graduating from the University of Mount Olive (UMO) on May 7. She will receive a degree in early childhood education (ECE) and is certain that the educational and professional skills that she acquired through UMO will help her succeed as an educator.

Thomas started her educational journey at community college. She took a handful classes over the course of a few years while working as a caregiver at RHA Howell and as an overnight stocker at Wal-Mart. As she juggled her courses and jobs, Thomas realized that she wanted to pursue a four-year degree.  She heard about the one-night-a-week program at UMO and applied.

“UMO gave me the opportunity to pursue classes with flexible scheduling and the one-night-a-week courses. I enrolled in 2013 and was able to attend classes and still work,” explained Thomas.

Thomas enrolled in the early childhood education program at UMO.   She quickly adapted to the curriculum and was inspired by the faculty and staff at UMO.

“Dr. Sandra Plata Potter was so inspirational to me,” noted Thomas. “She provided me unwavering support.  There were times that I felt unsure of my abilities to be a successful college student, but she instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, as long as I wanted it and I tried hard enough.”

During her college pursuits, Thomas began a new job as a Head Start teacher with Coastal Community Action Program in the Children Services Department.   “My courses at UMO combined with my experiences as a head start teacher, have inspired me to one day open my own learning center which will focus on school readiness for preschoolers,” she said.

Thomas will join 375 others who will graduate from the University of Mount Olive this Saturday, May 7. Commencement exercises are scheduled for 2 PM in the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena on the Mount Olive Campus. UMO alumnus Henry Edmund will be the commencement speaker.

After graduation, Thomas plans on celebrating with her friends and husband, Jomar Damien Thomas.

“UMO has transformed my life by giving me the opportunity to establish my love for teaching and to be the best me that I can be! UMO has allowed me to provide more for my family, inspire others to finish their higher education goals, and has given me confidence in myself. I am so proud that I have accomplished this degree,” smiled Thomas.

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