April Lovelace added just enough of a twist to a time-worn phrase, a change made to emphatically describe just what her experiences at Blackhawk Technical College had meant to her present and, most important, her future.
“Blackhawk is the light in the darkness,’’ she said.
Note she did not say anything about the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, she said, BTC was the light that guided her through the tunnel of post-secondary education, something only a few years before she had never contemplated as part of her life.
Lovelace recently emerged from that BTC tunnel in May with an associate’s degree in Marketing in hand and five months experience as an intern in the school’s Marketing and Communications Department. Now she has a light to turn toward the world of marketing and graphic design outside of Blackhawk. Wherever that light should lead her, it will always include a special memory.
“Coming to Blackhawk was the best decision I ever made,’’ Lovelace said. “I’m a smarter person for it. I’m a better person for it.’’
As is the case with so many other BTC students, circumstances forced Lovelace’s hand. She was employed in a family business after attending Milton High School, a “job for life” that proved not to be that when the business was sold. She found work in management of a local convenience store, but didn’t find the work either convenient or inspiring.
“I wanted something better for my life than retail,’’ she recalled.
Lovelace, 28, had considered Blackhawk following high school “but I didn’t think I would need it.’’
She changed her mind as she sought to free herself from the tedium of her life. It didn’t hurt either, that an old friend of hers had entered the BTC Welding program, did well and left school with a good job and a good step on his way to a positive future.
“I saw his progress,’’ she said. “I saw how excited he was when he got that job. I wanted that, too.’’
She originally enrolled at Blackhawk in the Administrative Assistant’s program. But after a semester there, she moved into Marketing with the encouragement of a BTC adviser. That added some academic pressure – six to seven courses in each of her last three semesters – but with the help of advisers and instructors, she weathered the load.
“The instructors at Blackhawk really care about their students. They helped me find my career path,” she said.
“I tell everybody not to be scared because BTC has all the resources you need. You will get help in figuring out what program works best for you. You will be walked through the process step by step. And there are always people there to help you through any hard spots.’’