As a first-generation college student, Abby Scott Nonthe, 25, found the Achieving a College Education (ACE) Program at Carson Junior High School in Mesa a great way to provide a solid start on her college education. ACE, a nationally recognized scholarship program that gives qualified students the chance to take college credit courses while still enrolled in high school, enables students to handle the transition from high school to college in an easy manner.
"In 2014, I began my journey," Nonthe said. "I signed up for a college reading class. I got married, made it through the pandemic, and currently have my daughter. My path to where I am now has been crazy. I am getting my Associate in Arts degree this week. I am the first person in my family to go to college and I am a new mom."
Nonthe, a Mesa resident, said the Step 2 Success program was her first step into Mesa Community College.
"In eighth grade I joined a program, the Step 2 Success Program, which took us to MCC all day and gave us lunch. It was the first time I talked to anyone at a college."
Soon she learned about the ACE Program.
"My counselor, Mr. Moon at Carson Junior High, referred my sister and me to the ACE program. Now I’ve been at MCC for five years and it has changed my life."
Nonthe said MCC provided her with many opportunities. She learned leadership skills and became president of the Entrepreneur Club.
She found that math wasn’t her strength, but the professors and tutors at MCC helped her a great deal.
"I continued to take my last math class again and again, taking it four times," she said. "I worked on my study skills and used the Math Center. I'm grateful for my professor Margie Lyscas who motivated me and gave me confidence to finish the course and I ended up getting an A."
Nonthe also struggled with financial difficulties.
"It's been extremely difficult to deal with financial issues to pay for college," Nonthe said. "The only way I was able to go to MCC was through the Pell Grant and scholarships."
Nonthe said her goal is to own a business in Mesa. She will soon be starting at the W.P. Carey Business School at Arizona State University and intends to get a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Nonthe said she considers the entire MCC community to be her cheerleaders.
"I'll forever cherish the closeness of every person at MCC because of the small classes and one-on-one time with professors," she said. "I would recommend for students to do service learning and to sign up for all events. My college experience was hard but fun and I've met lifelong friends at MCC."