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Dec 13
Chicago native turns dream into reality at NPCC

Novelle_Williams.jpg

Williams, a non-traditional student from Chicago, hopes to one day open his own computer business and program computers for people with disabilities.

Novelle Williams isn't the kind of person to sit around feeling sorry for himself. He knows where he wants to be in life, and he's going to do whatever it takes to get there.

That's why he's at North Platte Community College. 

"I just love it here," said Williams, 44. "The faculty and staff at NPCC are so kind and considerate. They understand my condition." 

His "condition," as he refers to it, is that he's been partially blind since birth. As a result, Williams is unable to do many of the things most people take for granted, such as drive a car or read a book the traditional way. That hasn't stopped him from being independent. 

Williams attended The Chicago Lighthouse, a social service organization that serves the blind, visually impaired, disabled and veteran communities with comprehensive vision care and support services, up until about four years ago. 

It was there that he learned how to cook, clean and complete other tasks associated with independent living. But, Williams wanted more. 

"I didn't want to just sit around the house all day staring at the walls," said Williams. "I wanted to get out there and learn something – do something with my life. I wanted to go to college." 

The opportunity came in 2012 when Williams, who had spent his entire life in Chicago, decided to move to North Platte to be near family. 

"When I got to town, my sister said I should check with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired office to see if they could help me go back to school," said Williams. "The staff there said, 'Absolutely,' they would help me and recommended NPCC." 

Williams qualified for a Pell grant, and in the fall of 2015, stepped foot into his first college class. He travels to campus via the city's public transportation system and uses tools such as podcasts, a Job Access With Speech (JAWS) screen reader and a digital talking book player to read text and complete lessons. He's on track to graduate in the spring. 

Now that he's been bitten by the learning bug, however, he's not stopping. Williams plans to pursue a bachelor's degree, and possibly even a master's degree, online. His ultimate goal is to eventually open his own computer business. 

"I want to program computers so that they are more accessible to people with disabilities," said Williams. "Hopefully, by doing that, I can inspire others like me to further their educations and chase their dreams. There's a whole, unexplored world out there. You just have to be willing to go after it." 

Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​