Shorntail Goodrich came to Tidewater Community College to retrain for a new career. She spent her 20s and 30s working as an apartment complex manager and later as an identification clerk for Norfolk Police Department.
“With no degree, I was stuck in low-paying jobs,” she said. “You can have a great work ethic and think you will be moving up. But all I saw was more responsibility, and no more pay.”
Today Goodrich is an administrative assistant for the Norfolk Community Services Board and plans to start her own nonprofit.
Goodrich, 42, came to TCC to prepare for a career in management. On May 12, she will walk the stage at the Ted Constant Convocation Center to receive her Associate of Science in Business Administration.
She found her passion working with Hearts Full of Grace, a nonprofit organization providing support for individuals and families coping with food and housing instability.
Aside from providing meals and clothing for those experiencing homelessness, the group hosts empowerment workshops for individuals in transition, and gives toiletry bags to those in need.
“My original thought was go to TCC and further my education and then get a job in a big corporation or bank,” she said.
Encouragement from Emanuel Chestnut, dean of students on the Norfolk Campus, and Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, professor of history, led her to re-examine her direction.
“I really have a heart to serve,” Goodrich said. “I see myself opening my own nonprofit, an extended-stay center to help clients get back on their feet. I see it as a road back home for those facing homelessness, where they can learn basic life skills and gain job training to become self-sufficient again.”
While at TCC, Goodrich served as vice president and president of Alliance of Excellence (AOE), an empowerment and community service club on the Norfolk Campus. In her first year, she organized an anti-bullying campaign and earned “Student Leader of the Year.”
Goodrich also planned a human trafficking symposium to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
She also served as vice president of the Student Government Association and was the 2018 Mary Pat Liggio Student Leadership Award recipient, named for the founding coordinator of the Women’s Center.
Goodrich was also honored with an Exemplar Award by the Hampton Roads Gazette for going above and beyond in serving her neighbors.
“Shorntail is a person who rises to the task time and time again with grace and humility. I’m inspired by all that she has accomplished here at Tidewater Community College,” said Dixon-McKnight, also a faculty advisor for AOE.
Goodrich tried college right after high school with little success. “I was older and wiser this time,” she said with a laugh. “This time I found TCC to be like a village with people checking up on me, investing in my success.”
Goodrich credits her husband, Dante, with “being her rock.”
“It was really hard to go back to school after 23 years. I had to take a step of faith and really trust God with my future,” she said. “My husband encouraged me and told me that I would have a job before graduation. And I do!”
“If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just take advantage of every resource TCC has to offer and see what you can do.”