Success Stories: Cheryl Fulbright (Early Childhood Education)


WPCC’S Cheryl Fulbright Finds the Right Connections

Photo of Cheryl FulbrightMorganton, NC — Cheryl Fulbright’s life is about making the right connections. A native Floridian, Cheryl made a visit to a family member in Burke County 20 years ago and she never went back to Lakeland. With a firm connection to the area, Connelly Springs became her home and she landed a job at Hildebran Elementary School as an after-school teacher. It was there she made a second important connection–this time with Western Piedmont Community College’s (WPCC) GED programming which was taught on-site at her school. Despite the fact that she had three small children, Cheryl made it a priority to complete her high school equivalency.

“My little ones and my education kept me busy!” she explained. “I was helping them with their homework while I was working on my own. When I could, I occasionally stayed after the end of my work day at Hildebran Elementary just to have some quiet time to study.”

This working mother found a great experience in WPCC’s GED program. “It definitely improved my life, but I also saw the very positive impact it made on my children,” she said. “They were so excited to see me moving ahead in my education and they wanted to help me. They saw me reach my first goal, and I believe that it will help open doors for them as well.”

During her 14 years at Hildebran Elementary, Cheryl’s life continued to evolve with important connections. The school principal, who saw Cheryl’s drive and talent, encouraged her to consider completing her Associates degree after Cheryl finished her GED in 2006. And that is exactly what she did. Cheryl began work in 2010 and received her Associate in Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from WPCC in 2012. But yet another connection was on the horizon for her. While completing her practicum at the First Baptist Church (Morganton) Preschool & After School Program, Cheryl was offered a full-time position there after graduating. Her days are now busy teaching 3- and 4-year-olds in the mornings and providing after school care for elementary children in the afternoons.

“I love it here at First Baptist,” she said. “I have the best of both worlds working with children of different ages. I hope that my efforts here touch their hearts. My message to them is that even though they are young, they can learn anything! Working here is an awesome experience, and one for which I am so grateful. So many of my life’s connections flowed from my time at Western Piedmont.”

So what’s next for Cheryl, the WPCC graduate with both a GED and an Associates degree? “My youngest child will graduate from East Burke High School this Spring. I’m considering a Bachelor’s degree!”

WPCC’s Early Childhood Education curriculum prepares individuals to work with children from birth through eight in diverse learning environments. Students combine learned theories with practice in actual settings with young children under the supervision of qualified teachers. Graduates are prepared to plan and implement developmentally-appropriate programs in early childhood settings. Employment opportunities include child development and child care programs, preschools, public and private schools, recreational centers, Head Start Programs, and school-age programs. WPCC’s program is nationally-accredited by the National Association For The Education Of Young Children. We invite you to learn more about WPCC’s Early Childhood Education program. To speak with someone about the program, contact Janet Fisher, program coordinator, at 828-448-3131 or by e-mail at

You can also get information about becoming a student at WPCC.

Western Piedmont Community College enrolls approximately 4,000 students annually in pursuit of college transfer degrees, two year associate degrees and diplomas. More than 10,000 students enroll each year in continuing education courses for professional development and personal enrichment. The College also provides programs for high school completion. Western Piedmont received recognition for Exceptional Institutional Performance based on standards established by the North Carolina General Assembly.

LIBBY BARGER, 828-448-3121