Georgia Gwinnett College Grad Proves It’s Never Too Late to Change Course
Wednesday, June 21st, 2023
Floyee Gresham wanted to be a teacher since she was a high school student in Villa Rica, Georgia. She pursued that path until she found herself working as a paraprofessional supporting students and teachers in the Gwinnett County school system. She enjoyed that career, but the desire to be a full-time teacher never left her.
In 2018, she caught wind of Georgia Gwinnett College’s (GGC) paraprofessional track for the Bachelor of Science in Education in special education. With this degree, paraprofessionals can gain initial certification in special education from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission by taking coursework at night and on Saturdays.
Gresham had spent years working with students who were diagnosed with autism and knew that she wanted to impact that demographic of students.
“I heard about GGC’s partnership with GCPS in aiding paraprofessionals get their degrees to be certified teachers, and naturally, I said, ‘Sign me up!’” said Gresham. “One must know how to meet the needs of students in all aspects of education, but in special education, you must know how to meet the needs of students of varying exceptionalities and, in some cases, multiple exceptionalities.”
At this point in her life, Gresham had been out of school for three years and was raising two sons with her husband, Mario, along with her full-time job as a paraprofessional. Adding college to that list was daunting, but she knew it was what she was destined to do.
“My first time back in class was a transition, to say the least,” said Gresham. “I was overwhelmed and sometimes felt out of place, but I always had the help and support of my professors, classmates, husband and family to help me through. That means more to me than anyone can imagine because college is hard – but being a full-time student, having a full-time job and being a parent makes things a little more difficult, to say the least.”
At one point, Gresham changed her major to psychology, but later realized that education was where she needed to be, and switched her major back to special education.
“Making the change in majors was an easy process through the help of everyone who works in registration, and I am grateful for the grace to be able to change my mind and follow my dreams,” said Gresham.
She made yet another change in course and added a minor in religious studies, sparked by a world religions class she had taken.
Like every spring 2023 graduate, Gresham’s college journey was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The transitions to online classes and later, back to in-person instruction were challenging, but she completed her minor, and later made the President's List and accepted an invitation to join Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society for education.
“These past few years here at GGC have taught me so much about who I am as a person and an educator,” she said. “The very late nights both at home and here on campus were tough, but I made it. My GGC degree was 10 years in the making, and I am so glad I could complete that milestone at a college that I love. I am proof that anything is possible with dedication, support and perseverance.”