UMO Helps Ward Bring Her Dreams to Life

UMO Helps Ward Bring Her Dreams to Life

NEW BERN- An instructional assistant and bus driver for over 20 years Sylvia Ward of Cove City, NC has had plenty of experience working with children.  It was therefore a no-brainer when the 51-year old decided to follow her dreams of becoming a teacher.  With an associate’s degree from Craven Community College already under her belt, Ward took the next logical step to advance her career goals.  In the fall of 2016, she enrolled at the University of Mount Olive at New Bern.

UMO’s adult education program allowed Ward to reach her educational goals without compromising other areas of her life. “UMO offered exactly what I needed, and the instructors and staff have been fantastic.  The support has been amazing!”

One instructor that specifically made a positive impact on Ward was Early Childhood Education Professor Dr. Sandra Potter. “I learned so much from Dr. Potter,” Ward said.  “Her expectations made me push myself to do better.”

A spunky mother and grandmother, Ward is well known as a family-oriented woman of faith who has a hard work ethic and strong-will to succeed.  Her professors attest that her warm smile and caring attitude make her a natural fit for the teaching profession.

“I want to go into the field of education because I love to work with children, and I know this is my calling,” Ward shared. “When I see that I have made a difference in a child’s life, I am overjoyed.”

Ward does not accept the credit of her good works on her own merits, rather she defers the praise to a higher power.  “I give all the credit to Jesus Christ,” she said.  “He is my leader and my guide, and He makes it possible for me to be who I am and share what He instills in me with others.”

Ward is expected to graduate in May with her degree in early childhood education.  Her future plans include teaching at the K-2 level, and eventually obtaining her master’s degree in the hopes of becoming an elementary school guidance counselor.  Looking back on her time at UMO, she said, “The most rewarding part of returning to college has been not only pursuing a degree, but also having finally followed my dreams. UMO has made me feel that I can accomplish anything.”

Ward is already envisioning the commencement ceremony and imagining her thoughts as she accepts her diploma.  “I know I will be thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for enabling me to earn my degree,” Ward said.  “I will also be looking out into the crowd smiling at my family who have been so supportive of me throughout this entire process.  They have motivated and encouraged me to be the best version of myself that I can be.” Ward is the daughter of Grace and George White.  She is mom to son, Christopher Person, mother-in-law to Michaela, and grandmother to Christopher and Makiya.

“To all of my family and friends I would like to say, you are never too old to follow your dreams and learn new things.  Just look at me.  If I can do it, you can too.”

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, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online.  For more information, visit