FOCUS: Associate of Arts in Pre-education
Dexter Durlin pursued his dream of a college education only after his children completed their own degree. He applied to Mitchell Community College to add an Associate’s degree in business to his auctioneer’s license; however, students and faculty encouraged him to consider a teaching career.
Dexter was gravely injured in an electrical explosion at work shortly after he graduated from high school. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to resuscitate him three times. He has endured more than 100 surgeries over the past 30 years.
Mitchell Community College faculty members recognized Dexter’s natural mentoring aptitude and appointed him the student representative for the Mooresville campus. Dexter also received the James Takes Award for demonstrating incredible perseverance. His ability to connect with students led him to switch paths and pursue a teaching career.
“In the future, I see myself being able to encourage students through example that anything is possible, no matter what challenges life may hand them,” he said.
Dexter’s commitment to helping others constantly impressed students and faculty. He campaigned for easier access to buildings and restrooms for handicapped students and advocated for the redesign of a street crossing for student safety. Dexter also championed a program to help provide meals for students in need.
Despite pursuing a new career, Dexter still plans to put his auctioneer experience to good use. He hopes to serve as a benefit auctioneer for the Phoenix Society and the Be The Match Foundation.
“My burn injury has defined who I am,” said Dexter. “It has made me a survivor, someone who appreciates life and all the highs and lows that are part of the journey. If it weren’t for adversity we would not realize how great our successes are.”
After Dexter completes his Associate in Arts with a focus in Pre-Education, he plans to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to earn his bachelor’s degree. He is looking forward to his teaching career and knows it is never too late to follow your dreams.
Story contributed with permission by AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest non-profit providers of skin, bone, and soft tissue allografts for use in surgical procedures and the world’s largest processor of cellular bone allografts. AlloSource has pledged a 10-year gift to support Phoenix Society’s Phoenix Education Grant program for burn survivor students pursuing their post-secondary education. AlloSource blog: http://www.allograftpossibilities.org