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I grew up very poor and did not have any hopes or dreams of a bright future for my life. I believed I was destined to repeat the cycle of poverty that I grew up in.

But then, something happened that changed all of that in a most profound way. When I was about 10 years old, my mother told me that I could be anything in the world I wanted to be if I got my education and worked hard. Her wise counsel and constant support gave me the direction and encouragement to pursue my education, which opened doors of opportunity that I never would have dreamed possible otherwise.

Dr. Bob Shackleford talking with a class of new students about their ambitions, hopes, and dreams, and encouraging them that RCC is the place where those dreams can come true. Randolph Community College

That is precisely why I chose the community college as the best place to invest my life—to give the wonderful life-changing gift to others that my mother gave to me. When I tell my story to classes of new students, look at them directly in their eyes, and tell them that they can be anything in the world they want to be if they get their education and work hard, it is the only way I know to thank my mother for the gift she gave to me.

Thanks to the exceptional opportunities given to me by my education, I am living my dream and fulfilling my passion for creating opportunities and changing lives for students each day.

After talking to one class about goal-setting and life-planning, including sharing my personal story with them, one young lady came up to me after class with tears streaming down her face.

“I want to thank you for what you said,” she told me.

“Which part?” I asked.

“About me being anything in the world I want to be,” she replied.

“But I really believe that,” I told her. “If it happened for me, it can happen for you. I know it can!”

She then said, “But you don’t understand. My mother has always told me that I will never amount to anything.” She asked for a hug and then told me, “I believe you. I’m going to give it everything I have!”

Dr. Brenda Lopez, speaking at RCC’s graduation ceremony, was an honors student at Randolph Community College and at the University of NC at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. She is now a practicing dentist in Gastonia, NC. Creating opportunities, changing lives. Randolph Community College

Every student who comes to us has a unique story and background, but each has his or her dream and is looking to us for the opportunity to become more than they ever thought they could be. What a wonderful calling we have to be here to help them take those next steps and get them started on the journey of a lifetime.

The accessible, affordable, quality education offered in the community college is the very best opportunity that many thousands of North Carolinians will ever have to enter the world of higher education and earn the skills and credentials needed to fulfill the careers of their dreams.

Our students come to Randolph Community College with high hopes in their hearts and move on with the foundation they received here to become what they dreamed of becoming. Some of our graduates have become dentists, nurses, engineers, CEOs, and law enforcement officers (even sheriffs). Others have become interior designers, attorneys, teachers, graphic designers, and accountants.

We have alumni who are now automotive technicians and automobile restoration specialists, professional photographers, firefighters, paramedics, and cosmetologists. Some have become computer technologists and programmers, business leaders, welders, radiographers, medical assistants, early childhood educators, mechatronics and electronics technicians, and college professors. The list is practically endless. Truly, you can start here and go anywhere in the world.

You can be anything in the world you want to be. Visit your local community college and see how incredibly far you can go.

Bob Shackleford

Dr. Bob Shackleford has been President of Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC for more than 11 years. He received the President of the Year award in 2013 for the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges. He also received the 2011 Citizen of the Year award from the Asheboro Randolph Chamber or Commerce. Shackleford was a military chaplain in the NC Air National Guard and also served in the US Army Reserves. He has served in a multitude of capacities with community organizations such as the United Way and the Randolph Economic Development Corporation, worked for Rockingham Community College as Vice President for Student Development, and also served as Dean of Student Services at Randolph from 2000-2003.