Dental Assistant, NashvilleRakeea


“On my daddy’s side there’s 14 of us. All girls, one boy. I’m the last child. I’m the first one to graduate high school and I’m the first one who is trying to push through college in my family. I didn’t have a 4.0 at the community college. It was high school all over again. I went my first semester, kept my grades up. But it was not for me. I thought college should be like TV college. But it ended up being like high school. Same people, too. I ended up dropping out.

#WeAreBrightwood

I wanted to be in the health field. I wanted to be an RN around the time that my grandmother was alive. I wanted to take care of her. By the time she died, I was 15. I said, ‘Forget it. I don’t want to do it anymore.’ I didn’t have any patience for it. So it took me a minute to see what healthcare I wanted to do.

I started the Dental Assistant program in August of last year, and I should be graduating this coming May. My mother kept telling me that she was going to get the surgery to get implants. I told myself I wanted to be the one to put them in. I didn’t tell her until I was three months into the program. She was mad about it, but happy at the same time. ‘You’re not doing it for me, you’re doing it for your son.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s true, too.’

“I thought college should be like TV college. But it ended up being like high school. Same people, too. I ended up dropping out.”

Recently I went to Memphis. My daddy had a heart attack; he’s 76 years old. He’s still in the hospital. He was in ICU when I went down there the first time. I missed three days of school. Before I left, I told him, ‘Look, my grades dropped. I need you to get better so that I can get back to school. You got to get it together.’

My support system is my son, Andrew. I already got my son a savings account. His future is way important. Even though I am struggling trying to get there, he’s gonna get there way before me. I promise that.

It’s just me, my baby and my husband. I stopped working this whole year while I went to school and my husband has been paying all of the bills. Every time I get home, I learn something new, and I get into their mouths. ‘Looks like you have two cavities. I see those fillings. We need to do something about it.’ I think they’re definitely more excited than I am.

“My first month here, I didn’t get an award. I knew I could do better. The next month, I got President’s List.”

If you come here, you won’t be mad, unless you give up. If you don’t believe in yourself, there isn’t any way you can do it. But if you have a little bit of hope, you can do it. I thought it was hard. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to pronounce these big words in these thick books. It’s a challenge, but you’ll get used to it.

They help you through, step-by-step. If you don’t know, go ask any instructor. Someone knows. I can call them on weekends. You know they don’t have to do that, but they’re here for you. It’s pretty exciting to know that you have someone, besides family, on your side. Once I got here and I got to meet Ms. Carrie… I don’t know, she broke it down for me. She didn’t make it hard to learn teeth at all. I didn’t think that I was going to understand any of it, but I did. She made it understandable. If it were not for the teachers, I would’ve gave up the first day.

My proudest moment was Awards Day. I mean, my first month here, I didn’t get an award. I knew I could do better. The next month, I got President’s List. It just takes focus. Focus in school and class.

After May, I think I am going to start off at a small dental practice and then work my way from there. All the way up. The ultimate goal is to get in an office and stay in that office. I want to be a dental assistant to an oral surgeon. My biggest goal is to make sure every patient that comes into the office leaves with a smile.”

We’re in this togetherRead More of Our Stories

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Miranda, San Antonio - San Pedro“I came here a year after high school. I wanted to start my career and establish myself.”

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Kevin, Indianapolis“I played football for a long time, and I even had my stint in the World League.”

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Are you a Brightwood College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!

“My children are my world, and I want them to see their mom as a successful person.”

Guadalupe, Modesto Student

“No matter how hard my circumstances were, I never gave up.”

Taviona, Riverside Graduate

“I have always been in love with the dental field.”

Tyshawna, Indianapolis Student

“I have worked in Career Development for over five years and still have the same passion for helping our students as I did on day one. Improving the outlook of someone's life motivates me.”

Athenai, Fort Worth Staff Member

“I endeavor to remind students that life will happen with or without your personal satisfaction. Do something worthwhile. Do something you love.”

Terra, Fort Worth Dean

“You have to believe in yourself and believe that you are worth it every step of the way.”

Stephanie, Fort WorthInstructor

“My kids and my grandkids motivate me. I want them to be able to know, no matter your age or situation, never give up on your dreams.”

Yvonne, Dayton Student

“I get to help students take that next step and push themselves to be more than they thought they could.”

Joe, El Paso Career Development Specialist

“I enjoy watching students evolve and become responsible, hard-working individuals.”

Kendra, Fort WorthStudent Finance Support Specialist

“I make it my mission to create a campus culture of family and a sense of belonging. We know our students' names, we know their stories, we know what makes them smile. We listen to our students, and we recognize them for changing their life and making it happen!”

Shaheen, Fort Worth Staff Member

“My motivation comes from seeing my students succeed.”

Pamela, HammondSenior Admissions Representative

“How can I make a difference today? That’s my daily question. Coming from circumstances that shaped me into who I am today, I want to give back in a way most of us truly need.”

Kimberly, Fort WorthCareer Development Specialist

“No matter what difficulties you face in life there is always hope. Tomorrow is another day with new opportunities. Love life, love people, love yourself. You are worth it.”

Amber, Modesto Student

“If I can’t be in the Marine Corps anymore and protecting my country, I might as well be protecting people from something else — bad teeth!”

Audrey, Vista Student

“I am motivated by my students who are enrolled to make a better life for themselves and their families. It motivates me watching them overcome many life obstacles and cross that finish line and graduate. The strength of my students is amazing!”

Marianne, Fort Worth Staff Member

“My children motivate me. Their father died when they were 7 and 11. Now I must provide a life for them on my own.”

Rachel, Dayton Graduate

“I came to the United States searching for a future with my husband and two little boys. I wasn't sure how I was going to speak another language or where to start seaching for a job. I learned the language and got more confident about myself, but I felt like I was incomplete. I needed a career.”

Leslie, Laredo Graduate

“I chose the Medical Assistant program because I love to help people move forward.”

Rosetta, Fort Worth Student

“My daughter motivates me every single day. I want the best future for her. I want to show her anything is possible and to go after your goals.”

Jazmine, Fort Worth Student

“I was afraid because I have been out of school for a very long time and was doubting myself, but I knew I needed to go back to school.”

Kimberly, Indianapolis Student

“It has taken me three tries and three different schools to find a place that I enjoy and a career field I love.”

Anna, Friendswood Student

“The proudest moment of my life was when I had my first interview and they offered me the job. I am happy with the place, and I love my job!”

Mariana, Charlotte Graduate

“Having three small children hasn't always been easy, but striving to make sure they are secure is what drives me.”

Audreyona, IndianapolisStudent

“Students motivate me every day. A chance to speak to them and show them that they do have a chance is extremely rewarding to me.”

Elizabeth, Fort WorthStudent Finance Support Specialist

“I help students take the leap every day. The difference is that I refuse to let them fall. I believe in their success!”

Latanya, CharlotteAdmissions Representative

“Always follow your dreams even if it seems as if you could never accomplish them. Nothing is impossible!”

Gisselle, Las Vegas Student

“I know what it’s like to lose everything then work hard to make a good life for myself and my children. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s not who you are, it’s who you can become.”

Melody Ann, Hammond Student Finance Supervisor

“I always wanted to go back to school but it seemed impossible working full-time and taking care of four children. My kids are the reason I chose this field. They have a lot of problems with their teeth, and after so many treatments, I found out this career is very interesting.”

Mirla, Indianapolis Student

“My parents are both immigrants. Being the first in my family to go to college has made my parents proud.”

Leonor, Vista Student

“I loved my careeer in healthcare. Now I love passing on the knowledge and real-world experiences to my students.”

Margie, Fort Worth Instructor

“Technology has always interested me, as well as taking things apart and putting them back together.”

Cory, El Paso Instructor

“I realized that college parties, the traditional classroom setting, and being far from home was not for me. I knew I wanted to continue with a career path that would help people and benefit society.”

Natalie, Indianapolis Student

“My proudest moment was the first day I walked into class and found my place in life.”

Catherine, Fort Worth Student

“No matter what may ever happen to you in life, you can pull yourself out.”

Brittany, NashvilleStudent

“I chose the medical field because I want to be able to help people. You have to have a good heart and a lot of patience to work in this field.”

Monica, CharlotteStudent

“I proved to myself that obstacles do come your way, but when you have your mind set on what you want you will achieve it. I’m now a dental assistant!”

Paula, Corpus Christi Graduate

“I needed to do something hands-on and slightly behind the scenes. So I chose pharmacy technician. The job I am doing is a perfect fit for me.”

Bright, San Antonio - San Pedro Graduate

“As a first-generation American, first-generation college graduate, and having been a young parent, I am motivated to help my students, many of whom share a similar life experience.”

Alex, Chula Vista Campus President