As young children, Aleah Moua and her sisters would turn any space into a classroom. Aleah would always want to play the role of the teacher. She prepared lesson plans and usually got her way. Years later, her play-acting as a teacher has become her career path, and she will be a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools midyear graduate Feb. 6.
During her junior year at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Aleah had the opportunity to enroll in a college course. It was offered through Career College Promise (CCP) in partnership with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). CCP is a dual-enrollment program offering juniors and seniors the chance to earn college credit toward a two-year or four-year degree while still in high school.
"When I was a freshman, I didn't know what I wanted to do. In my sophomore year, I thought I might be a neonatal nurse since I am in the health science academy," she said. "When my school counselor told me about CCP and I saw early childhood education courses were available, I jumped right in by taking one course."
Aleah is now enrolled in four college courses; one is in the evening at the CPCC campus and the other three are taught online. She will receive an early childhood education certification after she takes her final course in March. She plans to work at a childcare center while working toward her associate's degree.
Deepal Patel is the career development coordinator for the school. She reports that as of December 2019, more than 220 CPCC dual-enrollment college classes have been taken by Berry students this school year compared with 145 this time last school year.
"I believe this is the most impactful career and college readiness tool I have as a coordinator. It allows students to start the journey to the career they aspire to by beginning the needed education and training," said Patel. "A CCP student, almost 90 percent of the time, continues their education at a four-year college or CPCC after graduation."
Aleah said the amount of coursework has not been easy, but it's been worth it.
"My mom always tells me I can do anything I put my mind to. So I took her advice," she said. "I set my mind to graduate early because I'm ready for college. My teachers have done a great job preparing me."
Her drive for pursuing a career in education came from her experience with her teachers.
"Being a student at Berry has helped me become independent and confident," she said. "Teachers aren't credited enough for the work they do. My teachers have pushed and molded me to be my best self. That's what I want to do — impact lives."
Her aspirations do not end with a career in education. Aleah's business and finance class at Berry sparked her entrepreneurial spirit.
"I'd always thought about owning a bakery shop. I even came up with a motto, 'Everyone needs a little sweetness in their life,'" she said. "I bake sweets but not from scratch, so I'd like to take culinary classes at Johnson and Wales. I can always incorporate those skills into the classroom, too. I've had a lot of experience with lesson planning."
The midyear graduation schedule can be found here.