Amy Lewis shows students they are college material, too.
During her 20-year career as a secondary school secretary in South Royalton, Amy Lewis pursued many professional training opportunities. But she never thought of herself as a potential college student, despite encouragement from her boss and mentor.
Severe dyslexia made high school a struggle, Amy said. She was on a vocational track. College wasn’t considered.
Eventually she worked up the courage to try a photography class at the Community College of Vermont. She attended an open house event in Montpelier and left with a completely different plan.
She learned about the Assessment of Prior Learning program that grants college credits for life experience and proven knowledge. Amy took the class and earned 62 college-level credits.
“One of the biggest and hardest decisions I ever had to make was to go to college,” Amy said.
With those 62 credits under her belt she signed up for her next class, Introduction to Psychology. She turned to her VSAC Educational Opportunity Center counselor to figure out how to pay for her education.
At the same time, Amy’s daughter was in ninth grade and starting her path toward college. VSAC helped them both with all the technical and financial hurdles.
“I had no idea what a FAFSA was, the paperwork alone was overwhelming. More than just the financial part, I didn’t know how to navigate college,” Amy said.
But now Amy is a FAFSA pro. After earning her master’s degree, she worked for CCV guiding students on paths very similar to her own. Now it’s her job at VSAC to convince them that college is achievable.
Amy never took that photography class. But seven years later she has a new career and the satisfaction that comes with showing students they too can be college material.