Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Submitted by Katherine Asbury and Jill Ross, Wytheville Community College

Statistically speaking, she shouldn’t even be in college. After all, children who’ve been in foster care as teenagers have about a three percent chance of ever earning a college degree. But Destiny Moody refused to be another statistic. In fact, she’s defied the odds most of her life.

On Saturday, May 12, she did it again.

After overcoming enormous obstacles to accomplish her ultimate goal of becoming a nurse, Moody, a Galax resident, graduated with an associate degree in nursing.

Once again Destiny Moody defied the many obstacles stacked against her by graduating from WCC.

Moody grew up in a large family of 11 children, many of whom she helped raise, and she believes that caring for her younger siblings inspired her passion for nursing. She and four of her siblings were placed into foster care when she was in high school and they began to move around a lot. At one point, she even ran away from her foster home. That lack of stability at home eventually caused her to drop out of high school.

After earning her GED at 16, Moody got a job working as a nursing assistant at a long-term care facility in Hillsville. Still, her ultimate goal was to become a nurse. Six years later, she enrolled in pre-requisite nursing classes at WCC’s Crossroads Institute location. During that time, she struggled with finding childcare for her two children and having reliable transportation. At one point, she even became homeless, causing her to delay her education and leave school again.

In the fall of 2015, she was able to try again. But this time, Moody was faced with the harsh reality that her grade point average (GPA) simply did not meet the minimum application requirements for the selective admission program at WCC. She knew she had two semesters to raise her GPA, but she wanted to have a back-up plan in case she wasn’t accepted. She even began considering other healthcare programs offered at WCC, like pharmacy technician.

But, Moody never gave up the hope of becoming a nurse. Through a lot of hard work and determination, she was able to raise her GPA and be accepted into the nursing program.

“It was meant to be. It was part of my overall destiny,” Moody said.

Initially, Moody was thrilled but she was also surprised at the costs. She hadn’t considered all the extra expenses like supplies, scrubs and gas, not to mention the wear-and-tear on her car from her daily 40 mile commute.

But she knew if she had made it this far, she would find a way.

“There were all of these things that I didn’t factor in. But I was just glad to be here!” Moody said.

She was able to secure scholarships to help with educational expenses, and Moody’s education was greatly encouraged by the nursing faculty at WCC.

“Patsy Muncy is great at helping you overcome yourself. She would encourage me and tell me, ‘Just keep going. You’re going to get it!’ ”

And she did! Moody will begin work at Lewis Gale Medical Center and plans to eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She is excited about the financial independence and sense of purpose that this new career will provide for her and her family.

Looking back on her journey, from raising her younger siblings to foster care to homelessness and repeated attempts at making her own way in life, Moody thinks that it all prepared her for the rigors of the career path she chose.

“It gave me grit,” she said.

Moody shared her inspiring story at a recent WCC Educational Foundation event. She included a special “thank you” during her address to scholarship donors who make it possible for students like herself to reach their goals.

“Not many people with my background make it to this point, but I am here as a witness to tell anyone who has ever thought about giving up on your dream – don’t give up! It is possible!”

On the day of graduation, Moody’s family—including her five children—watched her receive a college degree, defying the odds one more time and fulfilling her “destiny.”

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Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve about 400,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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