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Mountwest graduate overcomes obstacles

May 11, 2012

Huntington, W.Va. - Mountwest graduate and student Patrick Stubbelfield has defied the odds and will be obtaining a degree from Mountwest Community & Technical College. Stubbelfield is wheelchair-bound and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at an early age. He was the child of a single parent home, and following the loss of his mother after his high school graduation, he was the victim of a house fire, leaving him homeless.

Although he graduated high school, Stubbelfield admits that he struggled through his high school career and that he was pushed through the system. Reading and writing had always been difficult for him, and he was often times labeled as "lazy" and "unmotivated." He said he always knew that he was different than everyone else but never considered himself to be disabled.

Following his high school graduation, and with the encouragement of his girlfriend and help from the Enable Project, he enrolled at Mountwest Community & Technical College. Once enrolled, he found an apartment, but the apartment was not handicap accessible. That did not stop him from doing whatever it took to attend his classes at Mountwest. Whether the sun was shining, it was raining or snowing outside, Stubbelfield crawled from his apartment to get wherever he needed to go.

Upon enrollment at Mountwest, Stubbelfield said he had no idea that he would meet the people that would be instrumental in changing his life. He credits, Peggy Wilmink, Mountwest Disability Advisor; Instructors Peggy Coleman and Elizabeth Bailey; and Deans Billie Brooks and Carol Perry as being those people. They offered him an incredible amount of support and encouragement, he said.

He was placed in reading comprehension and developmental English courses, in addition to going through a series of testing. Through this testing it was determined that Stubbelfield suffered from severe dyslexia. In fact, it was one of the worst cases the school had seen.

Accommodations and scheduling were made for Stubbelfield. He then began taking Information Technology classes at Mountwest. It was then that he gained interest in becoming a video game designer. He was accepted into the Engineering Design Technology program.

“Never did I think I would even attend college, but on May 11, 2012, I will be graduating with my General Studies Degree,” said Stubbelfield.

Following graduation, Stubbelfield will return to Mountwest in the fall and continue working toward his Engineering Design Technology degree. He says his entire outlook on life has changed since becoming a student at Mountwest, and his ultimate goal is to one day return to Mountwest as an instructor. He would like to be able to help other students the way Mountwest instructors and faculty have helped him.

“When I think of Patrick’s progress in the Engineering Design Technology program, I think of a man with a drive to succeed," said Engineering Design Technology Instructor Ted Triplett. "His drive is not like anything you’ve seen on television, in the movies, or even in literature. Patrick’s drive comes from battling every day, and over a lifetime, to accomplish tasks that most people would consider mundane.”

Mountwest Community & Technical College provides programs to meet the varied educational and workforce development needs of its students and the community. Mountwest offers two-year degree and one-year certificate programs in Allied Health, Business and Information Technology, Human Services, Occupational and Technical Programs, as well as numerous continuing education opportunities and customized instruction. For more information about Mountwest programs and opportunities, please visit


Media Contact:
Shirley Dyer