Stephen Sides, a 20-year-old Madison County resident, graduated from LFCC with an associate degree in liberal arts. Sides was home-schooled through high school and considers it his greatest personal achievement to have been accepted into the College of William and Mary.
"My acceptance into William and Mary is a fulfillment of my parents' hard work home schooling me and of my own work and effort while at LFCC. I also see it as an affirmation of all of the hopes and belief my parents, older brothers, close friends and professors had in me," Sides said.
This fall, Sides will complete an internship program before transferring to the College of William and Mary in spring 2010, where he plans to double major in history and anthropology. His career goal is to teach at the collegiate level, so he plans to continue his education in pursuit of master's and doctoral degrees.
"My family, friends and professors are the reason why I've done so well so far. It's been their encouragement that's motivated me to try to do more than just get by or go with the flow — to do my best to excel. That outside motivation has in turn also built up my personal motivation," said Sides, who served in 2008-09 as the vice president of the Fauquier Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges.
Outside of school, Sides keeps busy maintaining a small dairy goat herd and volunteering in the community. Sides owns approximately 25 goats that he keeps on his family's farm. Besides milking, feeding and caring for the goats' health, he operates a Web site to market his stock. He is also involved with teaching 4-H poultry judging though the Madison County 4-H program. Previously, he was the head coach of the judging teams but, due to time constraints, is now acting as an advisor. "Being a volunteer with 4-H and a coach helped me decide that I wanted to be a teacher," Sides said.
Sides' older brother Andrew has also been a contributing factor in his decision to be a teacher. "My older brother Andrew is my greatest hero. Andrew has always been there for me, encouraging, advising and correcting me. The time he's spent with me just talking about life, a class or a movie has bolstered my self-confidence and is one of the major reasons I want to become a teacher. I want to help encourage others like Andrew did for me."
As he leaves LFCC, Sides is grateful for the direction that the College has provided for his educational career. "I was sold after my first semester. The professors were amazing, the drive convenient and the student body good-natured and pleasant."