Ashleigh Pierce and her family

Ashleigh, from Pass Christian, has faced life’s challenges with unwavering determination. Motivated by the sudden loss of her brother, she recognized the need for education to support her passion for helping others in their darkest times. “Once I was able to get a handle on grieving and get back to living a ‘normal’ life, I immediately started the process of enrolling at MGCCC,” she shared.

The road to education was not without its hurdles. As a full-time Honors student, homeschooling mother of three, and devoted wife, Ashleigh initially worried about handling college. “Having so much on my plate can certainly be hard to juggle,” she admitted. However, Ashleigh’s tenacity prevailed, and she learned to love the college experience despite the challenges.

Time management emerged as her primary struggle, but with the support of her family and college friends, especially the PTK officer team, she found a healthy balance. Ashleigh believes the sacrifices are worthwhile, not only for her family’s future but also as a testament to the value of hard work and perseverance for her children.

Currently pursuing two associate degrees with a focus on psychology and a minor in social work, Ashleigh aspires to specialize in addictions and suicide prevention. Her personal experiences and the loss of her brother fuel her commitment to this career path. “If I can help just one person get better, then my life purpose will be fulfilled,” she expressed.

Ashleigh’s educational journey at MGCCC began with online classes as a nontraditional student. Initially unsure about accessing clubs and extracurricular activities, she soon discovered the wealth of opportunities available. Ashleigh reflects, “MGCCC has changed my life, and I’ve already been places and done things I never thought possible.”

Recently, Ashleigh and her PTK Chapter team completed an Honors In Action project—a children’s book. The book, set to be printed by Knight Abbey, reflects the dedication of Ashleigh and her PTK chapter to make a positive impact in their community.

Ashleigh’s personal life is a testament to strength and support. Happily married to Walter Pierce for almost eight years, she acknowledges him as her backbone and best friend. Walter, a Pepsi truck driver, provides unwavering support to the family as Ashleigh pursues her education.  In addition, her children have offered her tremendous support throughout her educational journey.

“I appreciate their hard work and support,” she said.  “They have seen me at my craziest and busiest and always lend a hand and offer sweet words of comfort that give me the strength to get through. My family is my rock.”

Looking ahead to after graduation from MGCCC, Ashleigh plans to attend The University of Southern Mississippi to earn her bachelor’s degree in social work.

Her message to other nontraditional students contemplating their educational path is clear: “Don’t hesitate any longer. It is worth the challenges you face to make your career goals become a reality.”