“Being here has empowered me. Education has empowered me. CCM made me see that I have potential. I feel that I can conquer the world.”

 

Alma Lugo sitting in the Cafe at the Learning Resource CenterWhen Alma Lugo, 47, immigrated from Honduras at the age of 16, she never expected to be in a classroom again. Now, more than 30 years later, she has earned her GED, two certificates and is working on her associate degree in business administration at County College of Morris (CCM).

From a young age, Lugo believed that school was not a fit for her. “I always wanted to go to school, but I felt that it wasn’t for me. It was for everyone else.” With her family and friends telling her that work was the better option, she cleaned houses for several years and then got a job as a bus driver.

When she lost that job, she realized she needed an education to advance in life. She enrolled in a GED program, which she completed in three months.

“I knew then that I could learn. I said, ‘CCM, here I come.’”

She then earned New Jersey Transportation Supervisor Certification. Next, she received a Small Business Administration Certificate at CCM. After she earns her associate degree, she plans to pursue a bachelor's in business administration at Rutgers University.

Lugo credits much of her academic success to the support she has received at CCM. “Being here has empowered me. Education has empowered me. CCM made me see that I have potential. I feel that I can conquer the world.”

Because English is Lugo’s second language, learning has not always come easy for her. She found the help she needed through CCM’s Tutoring Center. Career Services also assisted her with writing her resume. She refers to the Career Services staff as her “cheerleaders.”

Lugo’s educational journey has been an inspiration to her two children, who also will be attending CCM.

She now possesses the boldness to pursue her dreams. She would ultimately like to return to Honduras to help improve its educational system. Lugo encourages other adults considering higher education to take that first step.

“Put yourself in a position to better yourself. Knowledge is power. You will not regret it.”