MONTGOMERY – With the support of dedicated Reid State Technical College instructors and staff, not even a cancer diagnosis hindered Marietta Wheat from graduating from the college’s Practical Nursing program in 2022. A video of her journey is available by clicking this link.

Wheat, a Mobile native, spoke before the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Dec. 14, about her experience at Reid State. 

Not long after Wheat signed up for classes at Reid State, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was 41.  

“I balanced school, studying, work and chemotherapy. I wanted to give up, but my instructors wouldn’t let me,” she said. 

“I was told to inhale strength, exhale fear. At first I didn’t know what that meant until I tried to work and go to college. I failed many times but my instructors made sure that I kept going when I wanted to stop, drop and hide.” 

Wheat credited her success to instructors and staff who assisted her during and after hours. She also mentioned the affordability of attending a community college as a better step for her than what the classes would have cost at a four-year university. 

She praised her adult children – Martez, Ashanta and Demarsha – who helped provide for each other during Wheat’s recovery. 

“I did it. With prayer and with the help of my family and The Reid State, I graduated. I believe that if I can do it, that people may see my story and believe that they can, too.” 

Dr. Coretta Boykin, President of Reid State Technical College, thanked Wheat for sharing her story. 

“While it is true that we are changing lives, that is not all we do. We change generations,” Boykin said. 

“We are blessed to have students and graduates like Ms. Wheat who give the essence of why we do what we do in education.” 

Reid State is one of Alabama’s 24 community and technical colleges that provides quality academic and technical education to students from diverse backgrounds and abilities. The college promotes economic growth by preparing a qualified workforce for business and industry.