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Diaine Watson’s association with Essex County College began in 2018 in the College’s Adult Learning Center. Having moved to the United States from Jamaica, Diaine was determined to first earn her high school diploma on her way to a better life.
“If you have a goal and a vision, get up, show up, and do it,” Diaine said. After earning her high school diploma, Diaine went on to become an ECC student. She graduated in 2021 with her Associate degree in Social Science.
Now a student at Montclair State University, the Newark resident is the recipient of a New Jersey Association for Lifelong Learning (NJALL) scholarship. Diaine was recognized by the NJALL in a virtual ceremony on June 16. The full value of the scholarship is $2,000.
A Family Science & Human Development major at Montclair State University, Diaine is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree this coming December. The mother of three sons, her goal is to become a special needs elementary school teacher. One of her sons is autistic and has helped empower her passion of becoming an educator.
“Diaine used every opportunity to expand her knowledge and acquire the skills needed to further her educational pursuits. Her passion for education has led her to begin the journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an educator. When the time comes, I believe the lives of her students will be enriched for having had her as a teacher,” said Judith Celestin, Director of ECC’s Adult Learning Center.
Diaine credits Adult Learning Center Teacher Adviser Tamalois Axt for encouraging her to continue her education after earning the high school diploma. “Ms. Axt told me you can do whatever you set your mind to do,” she recalled. She also encouraged Diaine to apply for the NJALL scholarship.
“I knew I met the scholarship criteria, so I took a leap of faith and applied. The scholarship will certainly help.”
Diaine has come a long way from the day she enrolled in the Adult learning Center. “Essex County College not only motivated me to come out of my comfort zone, but the faculty and environment changed me in a way I needed to change. ECC helped make me to become more confident in myself and my abilities. I will always be grateful to ECC.”
Essex County College is also a family affair. Diaine proudly saw her oldest son Kevin graduate this June from ECC with Highest Honors and an Associate in New Media Technology.