Horne learns new trade at Wallace after 31 years in industry

After working at Rembrandt Foods for more than 31 years, Shelia Horne found herself looking for her next adventure when the plant shut down. At 58 years old, she decided to try something different and enrolled at Wallace Community College – Eufaula.

“I said ‘OK, I am not ready to go back to work right now, so I can go back to school and better myself,’” Horne said. “It was between welding and air-conditioning. I said I want to do welding, I want to do something out the ordinary, something strange that somebody wouldn’t expect someone my age to do. So that is what led me to welding classes.”

Horne said it has been challenging to learn to weld, but that her classmates and instructors have helped her along the way.

“Here with all these 19-and 20-year-olds and I kind of feel a little bit out of place, but they make me feel right at home,” she said. “They help me when I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing.”

Horne is on track to graduate in May with a certificate in welding, and said she knows she will miss the College and the people she has spent so much time with.

“I am going to miss the class, I am going to miss my instructors, I am just going to miss being here because I bring joy and they bring joy to me,” Horne said. “That is just what keeps me going all the time.”

Working for more than 30 years, then going back to school can be hard. That didn’t slow Horne down though. She said she is proud of herself for sticking to it and learning something new despite the challenges.

“Because of Wallace I am more confident in myself, I am proud of myself, and I am glad to have been a student at Wallace Community College,” Horne said.

Horne said she has adult children who have gone on to graduate college and this is her chance to do the same.

“I am proud because all of my kids are grown and all of them have their degrees,” she said. “I have a nurse practitioner, I have a psychologist, I have a science technician who is good with computers, and a son with air-conditioning. I said, ‘OK, here is my chance to go and get me a degree too, and get right on up there with them.’”

Horne said if she can learn a new trade and go back to school at 58-years-old, anyone can. “Anyone over 58 that just wants to come on down here to Wallace and do it, come on. It is not as bad as you may think,” Horne said. “Don’t listen to what other people think. Just come on in here and get this thing done.”