Volume 47, Number 4 - October 5, 2009

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Theo Karantsalis
Theo Karantsalis
Staff Writer

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Disabled Student Conquers Obstacles

By Theo Karantsalis

While some students worry about where to park their cars and what to eat for lunch, Carol Hodge, 59, is just concerned about getting to class.

Hodge, a religious studies major at the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, is a disabled student, who mows down obstacles like bowling balls knock down bowling pins. She is on a life mission to overcome adversity and earn a bachelors degree.

Hodge said that nothing will stop her from reaching her goal to help special-needs students.

“I struggle to take these classes,” Hodge said. “But my eyes are on the prize and nothing will stop me.” 

Hodge said she lives on a fixed budget of $ 35 a month – or about one dollar a day.  The rest of her budget goes toward room and board at her nursing home and a driver who takes her to and from school.

“I pay STS (a local special transportation service) $6 a day to get me here, and that doesn’t include food,” said Hodge, a resident of the Watercress Care Center in North Miami Beach.  “I have a dream to someday earn an A.A. degree in religious studies and then go on to earn a bachelors degree.”

Hodge, who uses a motorized wheelchair, has a desire to help other disabled students to plan and reach their goals.  She has big dreams and follows a spiritual roadmap to attain them.

“Miss Hodge is our confirmation that anything is possible, despite some of life's obstacles,” said Kionne McGhee, an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College, who attends the same church as Hodge.  “She is the epitome of what hard work and determination can do when we press on with our lives.”

McGhee should know.  He is a motivational speaker who just published a biography called A mere I can that highlights his difficult life journey from Miami’s housing projects to his current day job:  a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office.

When Hodge isn’t studying, she strengthens her spirit near the picnic tables behind the Meek Center by reading the Bible.  The book is worn from heavy use and glitters with highlights as the pages turn.

Hodge knows most of the Psalms by heart, her favorite is Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

“I’m blessed to be able to come to Meek Center,” Hodge said.  “The people here embrace me with love.”

Hodge credits her pastor, C.P. Preston at the Peaceful Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City for challenging her to “launch out into the deep.”

“He told me to reach out and with God’s help, I’ll reach my goal,” Hodge said.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.