PENDLETON --- Megan Moss didn't know how  -- or if -- she was going to make things work as a pregnant, 18-year-old who needed to finish her high school diploma until she found Tri-County Technical College's Connect to College (C2C) program. 

"When I discovered I was pregnant (three years ago), every plan I had changed," said Moss, who as a West-Oak High School student, had played basketball and competed in weekend AAU basketball tournaments. Her team finished sixth in the national championship held in Florida.

She had plans of attending college on a scholarship until, she says, "Life happened."  As a senior, she dropped out of school, leaving her with no diploma and no work experience.  She couldn't find a job.  But she found the C2C program.

"I had to get my act together," she said of her decision to enroll in C2C, which meets the diverse needs of area students by offering academically capable youth between the ages of 17 and 20 the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and college credit, up to and including a postsecondary credential.  The first of its kind in South Carolina, C2C is a program for students who, for a variety of reasons, have faced difficult challenges in traditional high school environments.  All public high schools in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties can sponsor students in Connect to College.

"I was sold immediately. I wasn't considered a dropout at West-Oak because the school sponsored me. I earned my high school diploma in 2013 after taking just two semesters of classes," said Megan.  Her son, Eli, was two months old when she graduated.

Moss says she had no idea what wanted to do beyond earning her high school diploma so she took a year off and began to make some life changes with Eli at the center of every decision.

"I had no idea what I wanted to do  -- basketball was all I knew," said Megan.  She discovered Tri-County's Industrial Electronics Technology program in 2014.  "I fell in love with PLCs and motor controls.  I chose Tri-County because I had a great experience in C2C, and it is close to home.  I like the small classes and that instructors know me by name.  Most important, I can still spend time with Eli.  It was a good choice."

Family members took care of Eli while she was in class and working as an intern at Schneider Electric.  Her hard work resulted in being named the outstanding IET student at the College's spring awards ceremony.   After graduation, she accepted a position as a technical scholar at Robert Bosch in Anderson . 

"I never thought by age 21 I would have a college degree," said Moss, who graduated in August. "I'm doing it all for Eli.  He is my everything," she said.

"I'm proud of myself.  I earned my degree, was named outstanding student and I work at a great company.   Most of all, I'm a good mother. It couldn't get any better."