Marcia Temple keeps a pair of shiny black and gold pom-poms on a bookshelf in her office. But they aren’t there just for decoration. Temple can often be seen using them around campus, whether it be cheering on students the first day of class or cheering on one of the Temple College athletic teams.
For Temple, it’s all part of her job as a career navigation assistant in the Temple College Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program.
“My job is to make sure everyone knows about our AEL programs,” Temple says. “I guide them, counsel them, enroll them and motivate them.”
Temple says much of her job involves convincing older adults that it is not too late to return to school.
“There are so many extraordinary people out there who gave up on education either due to personal circumstances, fear of failure or financial reasons,” Temple says. “Everyone in this country deserves the opportunity to grow academically, educationally and financially, and it has to start somewhere.”
Temple started her career as a correctional officer after earning a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) degree with a focus on criminal justice. She left that to become a stay-at-home mother and later returned to work as an in-school suspension aide with the Killeen Independent School District. She jumped at the opportunity to work with the Adult Education and Literacy program.
“This program is so wonderful,” Temple says. “I work with a great team. We have different departments that can help people with anything they need. There is no problem too small or too big that we can’t fix.”
For some people, that might mean enrolling in a GED or ESL program. For others, it might be enrolling in a short-term certificate program that will train them for better jobs.
On a recent morning, Temple was reaching out to the local Boys and Girls Club to see if she could come talk to students there who may have dropped out of school. She even has visited local homeless shelters.
Although Temple has only been working at Temple College since March 2021, she already has several success stories she likes to share. One student she is especially proud of was an unemployed veteran who she convinced to enroll in the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program.
“He got hired by McLane and is now making good money,” Temple says. “That is my reward – to see someone who was displaced go back and achieve so much.”
Temple says she draws much of her inspiration from her own teachers.
“I remember my college teachers like it was yesterday,” she says. “Many people influenced my education. If I can give back the same way those instructors gave to me, I’ve done my part.”