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Theresa Castleberry

Growing up, I started off wanting to be a nurse. I soon discovered that I hated the sight of blood (Lol) and realized that was not the field for me. After graduating high school, I fell into a job with Taco Bell restaurants and worked as a loyal and dedicated employee for over 15 years. Once I brought my two beautiful children into the world, I quickly realized that even though Taco Bell was good to me, I was going to need a better-paying career. I thought back to when I was in high school and had taken classes in Metal and Wood Shop. I loved working with my hands and creating things; this made me decide to pursue the trades. I signed up for Combination Welding at NCST and began class much sooner than I thought I would. I was beyond stressed and nervous for the first few weeks, thinking that I would quit or change to another program because I wasn’t feeling like I would be able to get the processes down. My instructors were all so supportive the entire way through. They kept reminding me not to rush and slow down, and it will just come to me naturally. They all pushed and challenged us to do our best but helped make us better with their ongoing support and knowledge of the trade. In my final quarter, before even graduating, I became employed in my field with a company that has treated me with respect and is allowing me time to learn even more about my field so that I become as valuable as I can be to their company.

I graduated from NCST having earned a 4.0 GPA and Perfect 100% attendance. My family, friends, and peers could not have been happier for me. I was then inducted into the National Honor Society and was Valedictorian of the October 2022 class. This was so exciting but was certainly not easy. Everyone has a life story, and I am no different. My childhood for myself and my siblings was quite rocky, but thanks to my loving Aunt and Uncle, we were able to be surrounded by caring people who taught us to appreciate ourselves and others and how to survive. I have never had anything handed to me; worked for all I have and am grateful to be where I am today. The struggle has been real, but to everyone out there wondering what the next step in your life will be…..follow your heart, and never doubt yourself and your capabilities. You will never regret trying to better yourself.