On a cold, rainy December day, the mood and atmosphere inside of Main Hall at Salem College in Winston-Salem is anything but chilly. Warm hellos and friendly smiles abound, and you can hardly tell who is the student and who is the teacher as you walk down the halls and peek in on office conversations taking place. The rapport is much more that of friends – or maybe even family – than student/teacher.
Main Hall is the epicenter of Salem College and houses much of the office and classroom space for The Martha H. Fleer Center for Adult Education. Designed for women and men ages 23 years and older who are interested in completing their college education, The Fleer Center at Salem College provides the ideal atmosphere to fulfill dreams and accomplish goals. It is also a popular destination for those adults wishing to add an additional degree to their educational resumé. The Fleer Center offers options and scenarios for every kind of adult student.
Every story of every Fleer Center student is unique and inspiring. One such story is that of Nadege Gay, a junior working to obtain her degree in Business and Education from Salem. As she walks through the halls, it is clear that she is friends with everyone. Hugs and hellos and handshakes come from every direction. She is a stranger to no one, and her calm, quiet and humble demeanor does nothing to suggest all that she has already accomplished in her life.
A native of Haiti, Nadege moved to Winston-Salem in August of 2013 to attend Salem College and further her education. She had previously received an associate degree in Jacksonville, Florida, but wanted to complete her bachelor’s degree as well. At home in Port-au-Prince, Nadege is an incredibly busy woman. She is the principal of a pre-K through 6th grade school there, which serves just under 600 students. She established the first ever library in her town in 2009 – quite a rarity in Haiti – after seeing the impact of libraries during her time in the United States. “I want to help give the children there all of the opportunities they deserve,” she says.
Shortly after the devastating Haitian earthquake in early 2010, Nadege answered the call for yet another huge area of need in Haiti – children who were homeless due to the earthquake. She and her family partnered with several individuals and faith communities in the United States to create the “House of Hope” orphanage, which she now oversees and which is home to 11 young girls. “I want to finish my education to give all that I can to my girls and my home,” she says. “So far, Salem College has been a great place for me to accomplish that.”
“We understand that our students have jobs, families and lives of their own,” said Suzanne Williams, Dean of The Fleer Center. “We also know that they have many diverse reasons for coming back to school. We are dedicated to making their transition back to college as smooth as possible and offer flexible day and evening courses to fit busy schedules.”
Salem College renamed its continuing studies program the Martha H. Fleer Center for Adult Education in July 2008 in honor of the program’s founder, Martha Fleer. Fleer came to Salem College in 1973 and founded Salem College’s continuing studies program in the early 1980s.
For more information on The Fleer Center at Salem College, visit www.salem.edu/fleer-center/.