Sherrita Clark works two part-time jobs, is raising three children, and is enrolled at Danville Community College. As a scholarship recipient, Clark was the guest speaker for theFoundation’s annual fundraiser Hats & Horses held May 7, 2022. Here is her story, -Picking a career and how to pay for it.
Sherrita Clark is like many people wanting a college education, but unfortunately find it difficult to secure funding. After achieving several degrees, more education was critical for her to reach her career goals.
One might ask, why would someone with several degrees still be in need of a scholarship.
“Due to pursuing many career possibilities, I had exhausted my financial aid,” said Sherrita Clark.
Clark is no different from students fresh out of high school, wondering who they want to be as a successful adult. After graduating from Halifax County High School in 2006 with an advanced diploma, her college goals were placed on hold until her children were old enough for daycare. Clark is the proud mother of two daughters and one son: Serenity is 15 years old , James 14 years old, and MarLaysha who is eleven years old.
“Since high school, I’ve jumped from program to program trying to find where I fit in. However, no one told me I would eventually run out of financial aid,” said Clark.
Once she transferred to ODU, she learned she had a limited amount of monies available.
“When I graduated from ODU, I had more debt than I expected. Once I realized that I owed that amount of money, I felt like I was done with school, because I couldn’t afford it,” said Clark.
This pushed Clark to step out of her comfort zone and seek-out scholarship opportunities. It was not in her nature to ask for help. Clark was raised by her single mother and witnessed her mother tackle every obstacle in life on her own.
“I have drilled it into my three children’s heads, if you need help, ask for it, there is no shame in it. I’d never applied my own advice until my daughter, Serenity pointed out that flaw,” said Clark.
Following the wise advice of her daughter, Clark has been awarded scholarships via theFoundation to further her education.
Clark earned two Associate Degrees from Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC): Administrative Support Technology and General Studies. In 2015, she transferred to Old Dominion University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership with a minor in Human Services.
Currently, Sherrita Clark is enrolled at Danville Community College earning her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with the goal of owning and operating a 24-hour daycare center in the community. Once she completes this degree in the Spring of 2023, she intends to take a few more business classes to facilitate her dream.
“I would like to give back to others and tell them, never let your pride or situation stand in the way of becoming great,” said Sherrita Clark.
Clark is employed by Old Dominion University (ODU) as the Community Engagement Assistant and she is the Program Support Specialist for the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC).

“I followed my passion- it feels good to achieve what you strive for,” said Tony Chappell.
In February, Tony Chappell earned his Welding Certificate from the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. Tony Chappell worked full time at Oxford Car and Truck while attending SVHEC.
After receiving his Welding Certificate, Chappell was hired as a full-time employee at Huber Engineered Woods.
When Tony was a kid, he helped his Uncle Thomas Chappell pull the transmission out of a car. This sparked his motivation for wanting to learn about car engines.
“I’ve been turning wrenches since I was eleven years old,” said Tony Chappell adding “I’m a mechanic, that’s what I like to do.
Chappell will be celebrating his 50th birthday this fall and is thrilled to still have the opportunity to follow his dreams. He acknowledged his appreciation for being a recipient of the Dr. W. J. Ferguson Scholarship awarded by the FOUNDATION in the fall of 2021.
“Even an old dog can learn new tricks, and I learned a lot,” said Chappell, who was the oldest student in his class.
While Chappell is thrilled with his position at Huber Engineered Woods, one day he is in hopes of operating his own Auto Mechanic Shop.

The SVHEC Welding Program began five years ago. Welding Lead Instructor, Geoff Vaughan (Pictured Right) is also a graduate of the Welding Program.

“I want to help people find help”, said Bobbie Goodman.

It was nearly two decades ago when Bobbie Goodman dropped out of college and began punching the time clock at the local factories.  She worked alongside her mother and other relatives to make ends meet for the family. 

“When I was 18, I dropped out of college and started working in the textile mill to help support my family,” said Goodman.

Goodman lived paycheck to paycheck for twenty-five years while working inside multiple factories.  After years of struggling to survive financially while raising kids and supporting her son’s Boy Scout Troop as the leader, Goodman realized she needed to return to school.  For many people, it takes a college degree to earn a living wage and that’s why Bobbie decided to further her education. 

“When I was younger, I didn’t think about what I needed for my future.  Oh man, if I knew then, what I know now,” said Goodman continuing to say -she would have stayed in college and earned her degree.

“I want to be the person who helps those find the resources and services they need to help them overcome their struggles,” said Goodman.

Goodman anticipates graduating Spring 2023 with her Associate Degree in Human Services from Southside Virginia Community College. This achievement will be in addition to three certificates she has earned since 2019 from Wytheville Community College:  Integrated Discipline, Mental Health, and Developmental Disabilities.

In 2020, Bobbie Goodman was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  She has a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the Dr. W. J. Ferguson Memorial scholarship for the Spring 2022 semester through the Foundation @SVHEC.  She is currently employed at Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute located in Danville.

“I’d really like to commend ya’ll- I’m very excited and pleased for everything the Foundation has done to help me further my education,” said Goodman.