Two mothers studying at Catawba College receive ANSWER Scholarship

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Catawba College News Service

SALISBURY — Two Rowan County women were announced as ANSWER scholarship recipients earlier this week. The scholarship which provides support, mentoring and professional development training to local mothers earning a college degree.

Tywanda Heilig, a resident of Salisbury, and Briana Pertee, of Granite Quarry, are part of the class of 24 moms receiving support from ANSWER Scholarship this year. Both women attend Catawba College.

Headquartered in Charlotte, ANSWER Scholarship serves mothers in Mecklenburg and 11 surrounding counties. More than 140 moms have been ANSWER scholars since the non-profit’s founding in 2006.

Heilig is earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in marketing, with expected graduation in December 2025. As a single mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, Heilig has persevered through many challenges, including the death of her brother. She said her late mother “taught her to be strong and keep going no matter what.”

Heilig hopes to teach her own children that “education is important and a college education is a must in their house.”

Pertee, a married mom with a 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, is studying for a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in birth through kindergarten. A rising senior, she expects to graduate in May 2025.

Pertee currently holds an associate degree in early childhood education and wants to earn a four-year degree, she said, “To better my children’s lives by bettering my own and furthering my career.”

As a teacher, she also wants to show children in her classes “that there are people who care to see them succeed.” 

Since 2006, ANSWER Scholarship has helped remarkable mothers in the Charlotte region earn college degrees. Their children are inspired to follow their moms’ example and work harder in school. The organization seeks to influence economic and social mobility by helping to educate one mother at a time. ANSWER’s graduation rate in May was 91 percent, far surpassing the national graduation rate for non-traditional students. 

To learn more, go to