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Beyond a Degree: The Real Impact of College Education

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I’ll never forget when my 44 year old single mother of two told me that she was going to start college. I remember questioning that and quickly passing it off. She had a number of motivations: it would afford her advancement opportunities at work, it was a goal she had always put off, it would create a social outlet where she could meet and interact with people and it would set a good example for her boys. Despite all of those, after her gap in schooling (and at this point in her life), she didn’t seem to be acting with a lot common sense to me. She would probably tell you I say that about most everything she does.

Fast forward five years, my mom now has associates and bachelor degrees under her belt. After completing her associates she had fulfilled her initial motivation – career advancement. She proved that she did know what she was doing, much to my surprise. However, the most powerful and meaningful work was being done unbeknownst to both of us: her self confidence was now soaring. Completing classes, getting good grades, putting educated thoughts together, successfully interacting with classmates – all of these things brought my mom’s confidence, self worth, and social skills to places they hadn’t been in 25 years. She kept going – classes, good grades and knowledge became her life-blood; I got to witness first hand as my 40 something year old mother blossomed into new person.
Grad 1

Graduation is just around the corner for many of you this coming May and I know many of our nurses just participated in a Pinning Ceremony – achieving their initial goals of coming to ATA. As we reflect, congratulate and bid farewell to some I want to remind our current (and future) students the power completing goals can have in our lives. I enjoy telling my mom’s story to new students I meet with; I see so many people each day who step foot in here dejected by current work situations, unsure of their availability to balance school around family and convinced that it has been too long since they were in school last. Take the leap – just do it – aside from any money or promotion, you’ll be amazed what fulfilling this goal will do in your life personally and the impact it will have on your children and family. In the least, prove that snotty headed teenager that he’s wrong!

-Matt Sherfield

ATA College Admissions Representative

Student Holiday Party 2013

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The Good Stuff

Every once in a while we are able to take a step back, enjoy one another’s company, and celebrate together.  Recently our ATA family celebrated the holidays with our 2nd Annual Holiday party on December 12, 2013.  Faculty, staff, students, family and friends gathered on campus for a journey through the North Pole to meet Santa.  Adults and children enjoyed crafts and snacks along the way with stops in the Elf School, Reindeer Stables, and Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.

Buddy the Elf was there to help children write their letters to Santa and “apply” to be an elf.

Elf school was surely a success.  That is until the Grinch showed his ugly face and announced Christmas was cancelled.  To which, the children of course replied, “Noo, Noo” in a unanimous uproar.

The Reindeer Stables were waiting just down the hall with fun for all ages. Each visitor crafted their own reindeer ornament and made their helping of “reindeer food” before moving on to Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen where more treats awaited!

Mrs. Claus and her helpers were on hand to help decorate delicious, Christmas cookies, with enough sprinkles and icing to keep the kids up until the wee hours of night.

At the end of the journey Santa was waiting!  Along with warm hot chocolate and a family photo to take home, we all relished the time to relax and enjoy a small reprieve before finals.


As finals week is winding down and we prepare to spend time off with family and friends we want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a joyous holiday season!   With the stress of life and school, it is sometimes hard to find time to spend with those we love the most.  The dedication our students show to their academic achievement and the commitment they make to their future is an inspiration to us all.  We hope you are able to spend the rest of the year with those you love the most, enjoying the good stuff!

Important Dates to Remember

January 2nd – New Student Orientation

January 6th – Classes begin