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Jamaica Program Alumni Spotlight

Allison Adassa Foderingham

Woman in front of tree

 Graduation Day, 1977

1. Name, graduation year and program:
Allison Foderingham, WCU grad 1977, M.A. Guidance & Counseling.

2. After WCU, what did you go on to do?
After WCU, I returned to Jamaica to continue teaching and counseling. In 1983, I migrated to New York with my family and continued teaching. I taught there for eight years and then moved to Decatur, Georgia where I taught until I retired in 1998.

3. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
When I was employed at a non-profit organization in Atlanta, I was asked to create and direct a G.E.D./High School Equivalency for young adult students. With one assistant, I directed and taught all the G.E.D subjects while also counseling them at the same time. It was an extremely successful program with many students obtaining their G.E.D Certificates. The fact that I spent eight years with this program that served at-risk students - never once having to discipline anyone, was a high point for me. In over 50 years as an educator, this stands as one of my proudest achievements.

4. How did your education at WCU prepare you for your career?
After I returned to Jamaica, I felt that every teacher should have the training I was fortunate to gain at Western Carolina University because the experience gave me the confidence to face any challenge at any level in my profession.

5. Why did you choose to attend WCU?
The Ministry of Education in Jamaica chose me along with nineteen other teachers for the pioneering group of teachers to prepare for the Masters Degree Program at WCU.

Woman standing in yard

Summer 2018

6. What are some lessons you learned at WCU that have stayed with you in your time since graduating?
I have learned that sometimes students get into trouble by reacting to a previous action that occurred in their lives. I also realized that it was very important to work with parents to know the children's home situation.

7. What is the most important thing you learned while you were at WCU?
If you want a friend, you must first be one.

8. The faculty member(s) who had the greatest influence on me was/were:
Dr. Sadler, Dr. Salisbury and Dr. Morrow had the greatest influence on me.

9. Share your best memory from your time at WCU:
There are too many memorable experiences to cite but two were attending the Cherokee Trail of Tears and a second was when a member of the WCU janitorial staff invited me to their church.

10. If you could use one word to describe your experience at WCU, what would it be?

11. What advice do you have for future students in the Jamaica Program?
My advice would to be very careful of the relationships that you form and always remember the primary reason you are at WCU.

12. What is something people may not know about you?
I am a 93 year old graduate of the university and despite being a senior citizen, my age does not define my activities. I observe a lot but say very little.

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