My name is Molly Scranton. I’ve been a student of COD for about three years now. I am speaking today because I am one of many COD students whose life has been significantly impacted by our teachers.
Three years ago, I thought I would never graduate from high school; and college was a distant goal I couldn’t hope to reach. After developing debilitating chronic migraines during my freshman year of high school, I dropped out. I dropped out again from online classes and a third time when my ability to keep up with homework fell short of frequent bouts of pain. At twenty years old I was convinced it was too late, and I would never be able to go to school again. The future was gray.
Then, I found COD’s free GED program. Despite persistent insecurity and doubt, I applied. My professors gradually prepared me to take the GED test, but more importantly, they prepared me for a future where I could succeed in spite of my limitations. The program had felt like my last second chance, but my teachers turned it into the first step in my continuing education. I wanted to keep going—to learn more, to think bigger, to challenge myself. Immediately after passing my GED test, I applied to College of DuPage to earn my associate’s degree.
Professors at COD don’t just teach in the classroom—their impact ripples from teacher to student to community. My professors were bridges, changing my course over obstacles instead of avoiding them for fear of failure. Through the Food Security Initiative and similar teacher-sponsored projects, I researched through experiential learning, developing leadership skills, interpersonal communication, and a variety of other skills necessary for the world that waits for me beyond COD. My fellow interns and I have increased awareness for campus resources like the Fuel Pantry, educated about food insecurity on campus, and hosted weekly harvest sales. Students like me work to feed our community and pass down the knowledge our teachers gave us. Three years after starting my first GED class, I am now myself a continuing education teacher, planting seeds in the community that helped cultivate my own future.
Teachers are role models, are bridges, are community leaders. They are not textbooks that can easily be substituted or replaced. That’s why I will always stand in solidarity with teachers. No matter the outcome. Because Teaching Matters.