North Florida College helps student find better path to success

Meet Elyssa Parlee, a True Sentinel Success Story

MADISON, FL - “Hi, my name is Elyssa Parlee and I just wanted to tell my story. My life has been a little choppy more than others. I was not able to actually get in regular schools like everyone else. I always had to take care of my brother and my mom. If it wasn't for Mrs. Judy and everyone else, I would not be able to be here [at North Florida College], and I really appreciate them and their time and their effort.”

Elyssa Parlee first stepped foot on the North Florida College campus, tagging along with another student who had stopped in to see their advisor. After visiting campus several times, as a spectator of sorts, Elyssa started to be recognized by NFC staff. They quickly got to know her and learned her story.

Elyssa did not have a high school diploma and had little confidence that education, or anyone or anything for that matter, could help her find a better path. With underlying aspirations to be a teacher, Elyssa was convinced that she would never realize that dream.

But Elyssa had now met NFC Academic Advisor Delvin Boatman and NFC Director of Resource Development Judy Lundell during her campus visits. Neither one had any plans of giving up on Elyssa. Each time they saw her on campus, they encouraged Elyssa to get her GED and then enroll at NFC.

It worked. Elyssa passed her GED exams earlier this year, with continued encouragement from the NFC family, and is now an NFC student and a true Sentinel success story.

“With my GED I really tried, and I kept on pushing even though I failed multiple times,” said Elyssa. “I really appreciate everyone because if it wasn't for you [NFC], I wouldn't be in this position right now.”

“I cannot tell you how excited I am for you [Elyssa] to complete this part of your journey,” said Lundell. “Every time you had a success or a failure, I felt like I lived it with you. I’ve just been so happy that you let North Florida College be part of your journey.”

Elyssa, currently working toward an Associate in Arts degree at NFC, is getting closer to realizing her dream of becoming a teacher. She is a testament that the NFC motto “Sentinels stand together” rings true across the College campus.

“The college classes that I’m taking, the teachers that help me are amazing,” said Elyssa. “I feel like I can really succeed here [at NFC]. You guys are absolutely wonderful. You are changing someone's dream, you're making it happen and I really, really appreciate that.”

Elyssa’s instructors have also been impressed with Elyssa’s drive and character. “I had the privilege to meet Elyssa when she was taking an algebra class and since the beginning, I was impressed about her desire to learn, her personality and determination to continue improving herself,” said Elizabeth Gonzales, NFC Academic Success Center Coordinator and adjunct instructor. “I wish her the best and I know she’s going to reach her goal of a higher education.”

Elyssa now hopes to encourage others who think college is out of reach to explore NFC – “I think everyone can do this,” said Elyssa. Even though it might seem hard, I know people can do this!”

For more information on programs and opportunities at NFC, visit or contact NFC recruiter Allison Finley at 850-973-9407 or

To find out more about financial aid opportunities at NFC visit, call 850-973-1621 or email

To find more about NFC scholarships available to students, visit or contact the NFC Foundation at 850-973-9414 or