Learning center made a lasting difference

Apr 26, 2017
Haywood County Learning Center Director Kyle Ledford, guidance counselor Brooklyn Nicholson and Cindalynn Hatton are shown in this 2012 photo when Hatton graduated from the center.

Cindalynn Hatton has lived in Haywood County since she was 4 and graduated from the Alternative Learning Center (now called Haywood County Learning Center) in 2012. She credits the support she received from center director Kyle Ledford and the ALC staff with a milestone she will reach this spring when she graduates from college.

This is her story of how the program has helped her and how it is a vital part of the community to help students who have struggled to succeed in a traditional high school environment or who have made bad choices and want to turn their lives around.

Cindalynn Hatton's story:

I would like to thank Kyle Ledford and his staff for their dedication to their students and let them know how much of a difference they made in my life. I want to also inform the community about how important this program is and how important it is to continue to fund programs like the ALC.

I met Kyle Ledford when I was 16. I had recently dropped out of high school at the Haywood Early College program.

I left the HEC program because I had a six-month-old son at home and was working full time at McDonalds on Russ Avenue. I come from a low-income family and my mother would not have been able to support my son and me. Therefore, I didn’t have the option of not working.

I had trouble showing up to class. I wasn’t getting any sleep and I was failing most of my classes at HEC.

Kyle and his staff worked hard to fit my school schedule into my busy home life. They allowed me to complete some classes online and were very understanding if I couldn’t come in. They also made the extra effort to contact me if I didn’t attend for a long period or they noticed I was not keeping up with my school work. They went beyond just a director or a teacher. They were my friends and I could tell they really wanted me to succeed.

I graduated from the learning center in June 2012. I then went on to graduate from Haywood Community College with my associate degree in May 2015. I will graduate on May 6, 2017, with my bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Western Carolina University. I was also informed in February of this year that I have been accepted to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy starting in August 2017. I will be a pharmacist in four years and it is thanks to the ALC, Kyle Ledford, and his amazing staff.

I would not be where I am today without the ALC. I really want the staff to know how much I appreciate them. I also want the students currently attending the ALC not to give up hope.

When I dropped out of high school I was told that I ruined my education and life. I was told colleges would see that I went to an alternative school and would pass me by. That is not the case.

Colleges understand we are human and teenagers make mistakes. The best thing to do is not give up and keeping pushing toward your goals! I also want to inform the community about how important this program is and how important it is to continue to fund programs like the ALC.

I love the ALC!