Kathleen Labedz, of Haverford, always wanted to go to college, but she was too busy raising her children.
Once she got to college, it became a family affair.
“I am the first of my six siblings to get a degree, which I got at Montgomery County Community College,” Labedz said. “My siblings are proud of me. My wonderful husband is very supportive.” Two of her three children, ages 32, 28, and 30, have earned their bachelor’s degrees.
Labedz parlayed her 2012 associate’s degree in Business Administration with a certificate in Accounting into a position as a billing manager/receptionist for an international forensic accounting firm in Philadelphia.
“Without an associate’s degree, I couldn’t have even applied for the job because [the degree] was a requirement,” Labedz said. “Montgomery County Community College gave me the opportunity to learn accounting and business; so with that background training, I felt more confident to apply for and begin this job.”
She chose the College because it is “in my county and not too expensive. I always wanted to go to college but didn’t have time while my children were growing.”
Pursuing her degree was also convenient. “Since my home is 45 minutes from school, I did my classes online as much as possible and limited my activities at the College.”
But she was able to participate in a panel discussion, which represented an important experience in her college career. “Professor Lee Bender recommended me as an experienced, online student for a student panel, which informed teachers about the students’ experiences at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Dr. Karen Stout asked questions of the panel, and we gave answers that were heard by teachers at both the Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses,” she said,
“I also had wonderful teachers that challenged me, like Professor Bender, and teachers who gave me unique experiences like Professor Buchanan who invited the class to a landfill,” Labedz said.
“I know landfills don’t sound too interesting. But my Earth Science professor invited the class to several places I had never been. The visit was an education. The trash is carefully monitored even decades after it has been covered. I was surprised by the cleanliness of the property. No one would have guessed it to be a landfill; the covered areas looked more like a park.”
Labedz qualified for Pell grants paid for the affordable tuition, which made college possible for her, she said.
~ by Neree Aron-Sando