Stories of Excellence–Javis "Jay" Gantt

Following a dream requires dedication. Javis “Jay” Gantt knows this and is determined to achieve his goals despite challenges that would have dissuaded many a student. He is dedicated to his dream of becoming a nurse and he is dedicated to his community at Mitchell.  


In August 2017, Gantt began the Associate Degree Nursing program at Mitchell. Previously a student at Central Piedmont Community College, he had applied to several nursing programs at local community colleges hoping to be accepted to one of the highly competitive programs. A Charlotte-area resident, Gantt now commutes an hour–more with traffic–to attend classes on the college’s Statesville Campus.


Along with a long commute, Gantt also faces additional challenges with the rigorous nursing curriculum. “I have dyslexia,” Gantt explained. “My whole life has been a challenge.” Learning and spelling are trouble areas for Gantt, but he refuses to let that hinder his studies or ability to enter the medical field. “Becoming a nurse is something I've always wanted to do,” he said. “For an average student, it may take them 24 hours to study. It takes me 48 hours. Whatever other students are doing, I have to do double.” Gantt’s dedication is evident to his fellow students and faculty. He was voted in to be the class president by his peers. “Jay is a joy to have in the nursing program,” added Linda Wiersch, Dean of Nursing, Natural, and Health Sciences.  


The support he has received by faculty and staff at Mitchell has made a significant difference for Gantt. “All of my teachers are very understanding and work to help me with my disability,” he noted. “The support I have received has helped me to go farther than most people with dyslexia would have considered possible.” The sense of community at Mitchell is also a notable asset. Having experienced larger college settings, the close-knit nature of his classes at Mitchell provides him additional support. “My teachers are like my family members,” he said. “They took the time to get to know me.”


Gantt is also an ambassador for Mitchell’s Minority Male Success Initiative, a program designed to address and increase the progression and completion rates of minority male students. The close-knit community has provided an extended family and support network for Gantt and others. “It’s great,” he explained. “Whether we are going places or just having pizza and talking, being around other students helps us all work together on our education goals.” This communal network and targeted supports aim to aid in degree completion and eliminate unnecessary detours.


After graduation and licensing, Gantt is determined to find employment at a medical facility in the Statesville area. “My goal is to give back to Statesville. I always feel like if someone gives you something, you should give back,” he noted. “I have offers in Charlotte, but I feel like Statesville has been really supportive to me, so I want to work here and show my appreciation.” Although Gantt may one day be a travel nurse, his main dedication is making it to the stepping stone of graduation. “I know I can do it,” he said.


Find support for the goals you are dedicated to at Mitchell! Discover our acclaimed Associate Degree Nursing program. Explore degrees, diploma and certificate programs Mitchell offers and find out how to apply. Gain a new skill or expand your career opportunities through our short-term Continuing Education programs. For additional support, speak to an advisor at (704) 878-3242 or