Ardently supporting the generations that will follow in our footsteps is perhaps the most crucial approach we can utilize to create a better future. In her efforts as a student, an aspiring teacher, a mother, and a community member, Tammy Cox embodies this mentality in every regard, earning her recognition as Washington County Community College’s Student of the Year.
Cox and her family moved to Calais eight years ago when her husband was assigned a position as a phone technician with Fairpoint. When that position fell through, Cox and her husband struggled to find stability. Two years ago, she enrolled in Family Futures Downeast, a new program at WCCC designed to specifically help low-income parents gain college credits.
Cox excelled in the Family Futures Downeast program and recognized that she had a path forward to realize her dream of becoming a teacher. She is now majoring in Education at WCCC, where she has a goal of graduating with a 4.0 and going on to the University of Maine at Augusta to complete her degree.
At WCCC, Cox has had her passion for learning met by supportive and engaging teachers. One instructor in particular, Pauli Caruncho, has inspired Cox to consider continuing beyond her bachelor’s degree to be able to teach at the college-level in the future. “I always tell her my goal is to be the next Pauli,” Cox said.
Once she has her bachelor’s degree, Cox plans to teach in the public-school system with an emphasis on gifted education. “I would especially like to bring this to low income areas where I feel there is much talent to be developed that is overlooked,” Cox emphasized.
In the meantime, Cox is working on balancing being a student with being a mother – and an engaged community member. She and her two daughters, Tiernan and Molleigh, are in the process of planning several activities for local youth. One is a “Maze of Doom” at the elementary school, and another is a Nature Club for youth that will begin in May. “It’s a chance for families to spend time together and explore what’s already around us,” Cox explained. “We would like to see more kids outside and experiencing the world, instead of hiding behind tv and computer screens or tablets and phones.” A third project in the early stages of development is a drama club for children. “If everything goes right you will start hearing about that within the next year.”
Even though she has high goals for herself, Cox recognizes that it is important to be compassionate with oneself. “I don’t like to put a ton of pressure on myself and often joke about being the ‘World’s Okayest Mother.’ I am not perfect, and never will be, but I have a great heart, awesome passion and a lot of love to give the world. I guess my main goal would be to instill that in my children so they can be more than I am in their own way.”
The most recent years haven’t been smooth sailing for Cox and her family, but she has gained immeasurable self-esteem at WCCC. “WCCC has taught me I can overcome anything life has to put in front of me. It’s not easy, but with persistence and grit I can change the world.”