The bullying was so bad that Corey Coffman left high school in her junior year.
But when she came to OTC to earn her GED, she was awarded free credits to take a class at no cost. She enrolled and was the first in her family to go to college.
Now, she is on her way to earning her Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree and eventually wants to teach math in a small, rural school district.
Last week, Coffman received the Missouri Community College Associations Student Leadership Award in St. Louis.
“I wasn’t a very good student in high school. I was shy and not very outgoing. I was like the weird girl sitting in the corner. That brought on the bullying,” she said.
Coffman changed her demeanor at OTC by getting involved in campus activities.
She joined Enactus and became the group’s treasurer. She also works in student services several hours a week through the colleges work-study program.
“All of the work taught me to appreciate OTC for what it offers students in terms of activities and work opportunities,” Coffman said.
Coffman has excelled in the classroom at OTC.
Pam Spain, one of Coffman’s instructors, said the student brings “an intellectual curiosity and joyful spirit to each class period.”
“Corey is the kind of student that makes me want to be a better teacher because she truly cares about learning,” Spain said.
Coffman said she has found math to be the subject she enjoys most and wants to pass her excitement for it on to others.
“It’s easy for me. I ask a lot of questions. I’m very inquisitive. It helps me stay on topic,” she said.
When not at school, Coffman and her boyfriend spend every Thursday with a young, 13-year-old friend named Jo Jo. Coffman, her boyfriend and Jo Jo spend time bowling, going to movies and hanging out.
It’s something she could have used when she was younger and being bullied.
“I’ve known him since he was little. He’s looked up to me. I know how tough it was in school to make friends. It was rough,” she said.
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