By Christie Hufstedler Boyd
I became a student at GHC by a rather circuitous route. I first married, raised our daughter and took care of home and hearth. During those years I founded the Rome Urban Ministries (now Rome Action Ministries) Community Kitchen and worked to feed the hungry for seven years. The volunteers I encountered from all over the area were inspirational. I bought all the food, planned all the menus, and yes, I cooked for approximately 125-150 people a day two weeks of the month. My philosophy was that anyone who needed to be fed physically or spiritually was welcome. We had no criteria for clients to come. All were welcome. Obviously, that guiding philosophy worked because they still come today. And the knowledge that my efforts and those of others have impacted lives positively gives me great satisfaction.
While my daughter was young I also worked at North Heights Elementary the two weeks a month the kitchen wasn’t open. My friend and I split the position. When she was divorced, I gave her my job and I kept going to school and volunteering. I volunteered there and at Rome Middle and High schools until my daughter graduated in 2003.
In January 2004 my husband and I moved in our motor home to Canandaigua, New York. We lived in the Finger Lakes region and it was beautiful. I was the office manager of the camp ground we lived in. We loved the people and the area, but it was far from home and our families.
We lived for a time in Decatur, Alabama and came home to Rome on the weekends. My husband was offered a job in Meridian, Mississippi with Sara Lee and he took the position of Engineering Manager there with the thought that we might be able to come home to Rome if a position here became available. That’s exactly what happened.
My brother Terry was diagnosed with melanoma just after we moved to Meridian. He had a farm in Dutton, Alabama ten miles from the farm we had grown up on. He was not married and needed my help. His girlfriend and I not only took care of him, but three 500 feet long broiler houses and the cattle. We took him back and forth to Birmingham for treatment. It was a hard time but we were close and did all we could for him.
One day on the way home from Birmingham, Terry said that I needed to go live my life. He didn’t have long to live and he wanted me to go back to school. I had always planned to go back but life – as it tends to do – kept lobbing obstacles my way.
I began school in 2006 at Coosa Valley Technical College (now Georgia Northwestern Technical College.) I attended CVTC for two years and a quarter. I got in my program and absolutely hated it! I packed up my book bag and came to GHC in the fall of 2009. Several of my classes transferred so I didn’t have to start at square one, but it was close.
I am a second semester nursing student at John D. Maddox Heritage Hall and I love it. This really is what I am meant to do.
I have been very active in student activities at GHC. The best thing I ever did was apply to be a staff writer at the Six Mile Post. I write feature articles, investigative reports, and have my own column in the paper. Last year I won second place in the Georgia College Press Association for Investigative Reporting. This year I have also won an award. We find out how we placed in February at the annual conference in Athens.
Being a non-traditional student at GHC is wonderful experience. I have been a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and was inducted into the National Honor Society. I am a member of the Young Democrats and the Political Science Club. There is a place for all at GHC. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made to return to school.