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Education

November 30, 2012

Mother of 5 overcomes hardship for MTC diploma

MOULTRIE — After living in Florida for 25 years and struggling through life on a minimum wage salary, Mary Bunch, 29, says it was time for a big change. The mother of five children, who gave birth to her first child at age 16, moved with her husband and family to Doerun in 2010.

Her husband had lost his job, and the family had lost its home. It was during their stay with in-laws — seven people in a camper trailer in the middle of winter — that Bunch says she knew instantly that she would have an opportunity to fulfill her dream of going back to school, despite her circumstances at the time.

Shortly after, she enrolled in both the Neuromuscular Therapist (NMT) and Medical Coding and Billing programs at Moultrie Technical College’s (MTC) campuses in Moultrie.

“I had not been in school for ten years, so I was extremely nervous and scared. I had to overcome a lot to get to this point,” said Bunch.  

Overcome, she did. Bunch walked across Moultrie Tech’s commencement event stage to receive her college diploma from the Neuromuscular Therapist program on Thursday night.

“I graduated high school with my GED [diploma]. I never thought then that I would be a college graduate now. I gave myself two years to finish college. My motto from start to finish has been ‘Nothing will stop me.’ I knew I wanted nothing more, so I strived to achieve it,” added Bunch. “My GPA has always been great for a mother of five, who is going to school full time and working full time.”

Her two years at Moultrie Tech have also been wrought with personal difficulty. Bunch was involved in two car accidents while in her core classes, the second one right after receiving her acceptance letter into the NMT program.  

“I was without a vehicle and no family or friends to ask for a way back and forth to school. Luckily, I met great people while in school who just happened to be going into the same program as me. I was fortunate enough to have such people in my life,” said Bunch.

There were personal matters towards the end of Bunch’s NMT program that she says could have easily inhibited her from finishing. She credits the staff and students with reassuring her of her motto and encouraging her to complete the program.

“I am so pleased and honored to have had the opportunity to receive my college education at Moultrie Technical College. I learned so much about myself over the course of my schooling that I feel has only made me a more positive, head strong, independent, and successful woman,” Bunch said.  

“Mary is an intelligent and articulate young woman who is always an inspiration to those around her. She is interested in helping others have a healthy life and to reach their own personal goals, which is why she will be successful as a neuromuscular therapist,” said MTC Neuromuscular Therapist program instructor Michaela Underwood of Bunch. “We are so fortunate that MTC could be a part of the bridge that carried Mary into this next exciting phase of her life, not only as a licensed therapist, but as a role model for her children and other parents out there who might be wondering where to start.”

Bunch says of her experience at Moultrie Tech, “…[it] was a wonderful one. I was able to meet so many wonderful individuals, that I can now call friends. I am thankful for my experience at MTC. The staff is positive and, in turn, it makes the students positive. I think this makes for a great success rate for the students.”

Underwood added, “Because she made that first step into MTC and exemplified personal drive and dedication, she is a successful graduate today. As an MTC graduate, she has all the tools to be successful and inspire the lives of others. We are proud of what Mary has achieved.”   

Following her graduation from Moultrie Tech’s Neuromuscular Therapist diploma program, Bunch plans to continue working toward opening her own massage therapy business, with a target date of March 2013. She is also pursuing her medical billing and coding credentials through Moultrie Tech in hopes of landing a job at a local medical center using those skills.

Bunch was among hundreds of her fellow MTC graduates Thursday night at Withers Auditorium in Moultrie, as the college recognized 335 allied health, business and computers, personal and public service, and technical and industrial program graduates from its four-county service area of Colquitt, Tift, Turner and Worth. More than 110 Adult Education program graduates were awarded their GED credentials at the ceremony as well.

MTC President Tina Anderson congratulated the summer and fall graduating classes of 2012. Radiologic Technology instructor and 2012 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award winner Alfred Jones led the faculty, staff and graduate processional as the event’s marshal. MTC Board of Directors member Bill Boone of the UGA Small Business Development Center assisted the college's administration in the conferring of awards.

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