Can you imagine what it would be like to enter a new country without knowing anyone or having any idea where you will live? That’s what recent Polk State graduate Vivian Newton went through when she came to the United States from Ghana, West Africa, in 2003.
“I had two boys, and I didn’t know what to do or which state to go to,” she said.
She followed in the footsteps of many U.S. immigrants and originally lived in New York City. A friend in Haines City led her to move to Polk County in 2005, and she settled in Winter Haven.
Knowing the benefits of a good education, Vivian enrolled in Polk State College. She began her educational journey at the College in 2006, working part-time toward an AS in business.
“I like the small class sizes. I was able to establish a good relationship with my professors,” she said.
She singled out Latrice Moore, Ana Maria Myers, Maria Lehoczky, and Jean Reynolds as professors who had a major impact on her.
“I always received a great deal of encouragement from my professors at Polk,” Vivian said. “It’s been a real blessing here.”
Vivian’s long-term goal is to get an MBA (master’s degree in business). She accomplished the first step when she graduated from Polk State in Dec. 2009 with an AS degree in business. But Vivian, who works as a paraprofessional at Jewett School of the Arts, did not leave Polk State. Vivian is one of the 169 students who are inaugural members of Polk State’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program.
Vivian said she considered attending a university, but she likes Polk’s small classes and dedicated professors.
“The bachelor’s degree will open more doors for me,” she said.
Vivian said she wants a better life for herself and her two sons, Kwame, 14, and Kwesi, 10.