For Tammie Sommer, going to college later in life was daunting.
“I knew it was a long road ahead of me and that process was a huge mountain,” Sommer said.
In her mid 30s, Sommer wanted to become a teacher. And the more she thought about it, the more questions began to form in her mind.
“There were so many steps that I needed to complete, and I was nervous,” the Avon resident said. “Can I finish it? Can I be successful?”
But Sommer’s questions were silenced by her greatest inspiration for going to school—her daughter.
“I’ve had great teachers in my life, but they’ve often shown up outside classrooms,” Sommer said. “My daughter was my driving force. She taught me to teach.”
Sommer says her daughter, Hallie, 11, has overcome many hurdles in the classroom and in doing so, has proved that anyone can reach their goals with perseverance.
“Learning didn’t come easy to her, and she has shown me that when you face adversity head on, you can accomplish great things,” Sommer says.
By helping Hallie work through struggles and thrive in the classroom, Sommer learned that she could excel as an educator.
“I knew when I was with my daughter and teaching her, it was something I could do,” Sommer said. “And it gave me purpose to be of service to others.”
Once Sommer decided she was all in on her dream to become an educator, she turned to Lorain County Community College’s University Partnership program, which provides more than 100 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs from 15 colleges and universities. Students in the program save an average of $74,000. Sommer began coursework toward a Bachelor of Science in Education through Ashland University.
“The University Partnership allowed me to have the convenience provided by LCCC and the devotion to teacher education provided by Ashland University—it was a great package.”
Sommer also said the many student teaching opportunities in local school districts, including Ranger High Tech Academy in North Ridgeville, made her learning come to life. And through her time in the various classrooms, Sommer drew inspiration from the teachers she worked with.
“Student teaching gave me wonderful experiences in front of amazing educators,” Sommer said. “And I have stolen ideas from each of them.”
Sommer will be implementing those ideas in her own classroom after she graduates from the University Partnership in December 2022. And to others who are considering college later in life with doubts floating around in their mind, Sommer has just one thought.
“Take the leap,” she said. “You won’t regret it.”