Taralee Williams

Graduate's Major: 
Nursing
Graduate Degrees: 
Associate in Applied Science, Nursing
Graduation Year: 
2020

With help from family and the kindness of strangers, Taralee Williams graduates from Mesa Community College with an Associate in Applied Science AND a new car.

After the death of her husband, Williams needed to make some changes. She had four children to support and had always been interested in nursing, with a goal to become a school nurse.

“My sister-in-law, Kristina, offered for me and my four kids to move in with her so I could return to school for the nursing program,” Williams said. “My nurse friends say MCC is the best nursing program in the state.”

Williams took her up on the offer and entered nursing school at MCC. She said her biggest challenge was finding the time to study along with caring for her kids and giving them the time they needed.

When things got tough academically, she turned to the resources MCC offered.

“I talked with my instructors when I struggled with testing and I changed my study habits,” Williams said. “I began daily practice tests and my test scores increased.”

To help her financial situation, she received several scholarships from local organizations, including the MCC Ladies Auxiliary of B.P.O.E. 2559 Nursing Scholarship, Positive Paths, Helping Hands for Single Moms, Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, the Soroptimist International of the East Valley, Arizona@Work and Arizona Career Pathways.

She said she will never forget how encouraging her instructors were and her personal growth through the program.

“The experience really helped me prepare for the nursing world,” Williams said.

Around the time she completed her degree, on National Nurse Appreciation Day, and a few days before Mother’s Day, Williams received a surprising gift. She was presented with a 2005 Nissan Murano SL, compliments of NARPRO, Helping Hands for Single Moms and Community Tire Pros. The SUV was donated to Williams thanks to Community Tire customers Leon and Renee Ellis.

“I’m humbled and grateful that complete strangers reached out and encouraged me in my career and future as a mother,” Williams said. “I would like to thank all my neighbors and friends and family who never gave up on me when I often felt alone and overwhelmed. They lifted me up with words of encouragement and love. And many thanks to Leon and Renee Ellis for their generous gift.”