Sometimes you need somebody to take you under their wing. Bridgewater was so good to me and helpful throughout my journey.
Carrie Monty, ’99, didn’t have an easy childhood. She grew up in a dysfunctional home that offered little love and support which contributed to the obstacles and struggles she faced as a young adult.
“I often failed, in part, because I had no safety net,” she said.
Her family moved around a lot, and she attended schools in four different districts.
“I had difficulty creating bonds,” Monty said.
After graduating from Norton High School in 1975, Monty enrolled in what was then Bridgewater State College. Soon after arriving on campus, she and a young man from her hometown realized they were in love.
Perhaps it’s because she was longing for connection, instead of completing her degree, Monty opted to drop out of school to get married and start a family.
“We got married at Bridgewater State, but eventually the marriage ended,” she said. “We divorced in 1996 and I became a single mom, determined to make it work.”
Monty thought back about her time at Bridgewater and knew she wanted to return to complete her degree, 20 years after she started.
“When I was at Bridgewater, it was such a positive environment, so I turned around and went back,” she said.
There were plenty of times Monty wanted to give up, but said she was blessed with faculty who rallied around her and provided much needed support.
“I had professors call me when I missed classes, because at the time I couldn’t leave my son. They offered me extensions, they wanted to see me graduate,” Monty said.
It wasn’t easy. Being a single mom, supporting her kids and going to school proved to be challenging, but Monty managed to earn her degree in history in just three years.
“I carried 18 credits one semester and took summer courses. I had a plan and stuck to it,” she said.
On May 22, 1999, she graduated.
With a degree now in hand, Monty knew what she wanted to do next and that was teach. She got certified and soon embarked on a teaching career that brought her to different classrooms across Massachusetts before landing in the Wachusett School District, where she taught middle school social studies for years before retiring in 2012.
Helping students beyond academics, the way her professors helped her, became part of her teaching style, especially students she recognized were struggling.
“Sometimes you need somebody to take you under their wing. Bridgewater was so good to me and helpful throughout my journey,” she said. “Helping my students, listening to them...I’ve been lucky to have students come back to me years later and say, ‘Thank you.’”
Ultimately, Monty said, it’s about surrounding yourself with people who care, who support you, that’s the key to finding success.
“Many people struggle, and the more we share our stories, and provide people with a safety net the way Bridgewater State did for me, you create a line for those struggling to have an advantage,” she said.
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