Edward Worth has certainly come a long way from his teen years through his late 20s.
“I got caught up with the wrong crowd,” said the now 35-year-old. “I had become someone other than the person who my parents had raised. A lot of people with whom I went to school were doing ok and I wasn’t; I was clearly left behind.”
Those days now are far in Edward’s rearview mirror as he has turned his life around and is looking to help others avoid the same pitfalls he encountered. A proud member of Essex County College’s Class of 2015 with an Associate in Science in Social Science, Edward is on target to graduate this May from Rutgers University-Newark with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In June he expects to start work on his master’s degree, also at Rutgers.
“What really motivated me was thinking about my third grade teacher who asked us where we would we see ourselves in 10 years. For me, after those 10 years I was in prison,” he said.
Now ask him and the Jersey City resident will talk about his life’s rollercoaster ride that led him to Essex County College in 2013. After being incarcerated, he ended up in Tully House, a Newark half-way house. The College was just down the road and the EOF (Educational Opportunity Fund) program really helped me.”
When recalling the faculty who also helped him along the way, Edward is extremely thankful and grateful. “Essex County College saved my life; there are so many great people here.”
And the feelings of the faculty are mutual.
“What I remember most about Edward is that he had, and continues to have, a very positive attitude,” said Mathematics Professor Ines Figueiras, who had him in her Introductory College Mathematics (MTH 100). “He worked hard, always strived to improve, and worked well with others in the class. He make no excuses for his background, but knows that he must work very hard to overcome that obstacle,” she added.
Dr. Akil Khalfani, Sociology Professor and Director of the College’s Africana Institute, has similar sentiments about Edward. “He was an eager learner who was and is committed to successfully completing his educational career. I see him as a great example of a student who strives to apply what he learned while also being willing to give back to his community. He is still one of my mentees.”
Now Edward is prepared to be the mentor to others. In addition to his college schedule, Edward works at the half-way house Integrity House in both Newark and Secaucus, accompanying the residents in court appearances. His goal is be become a Licensed Social Worker.
Edward impresses upon the residents the importance of education. “For you to recover from addiction, you need to be financially solid. So education is the means for you to get to the next level.”
And Edward adds that Essex County College is a great place to work toward your ultimate goals.