Posted on Monday, January 26, 2015

When he was a younger man, David Hall couldn’t resist the temptation to travel west and try his hand in theater. After all, he had a degree and the only thing standing between him and a successful career in film was opportunity.

But things didn’t turn out like he had hoped.

David Hall

David Hall

“I wasn’t making enough money. I was doing film and television but it just wasn’t panning out. I was doing real estate, too, on the side and you know what happened to that market.”

So, Hall made his way back home to Dickenson County where he enrolled at Mountain Empire Community College. At first, he says he was a nervous wreck because he didn’t know what being successful entailed.

“So I told the director of student enrollment at MECC, Christy Hall, that I need to start from the bottom and work my way up. In order to be successful, I needed to know everything and she understood that.”

Hall plans to complete the requirements for his health-science degree this year and with a little luck, he’ll enter the school’s uber-competitive radiology program this summer.

“They’re only selecting four students but I expect to finish with a 4.0 GPA in order to get in the program so it’s looking good.”

Hall’s commitment to academic achievement is undeniable. Last semester, he took 21 credit hours and made the president’s list.

“The first movie I ever did had no feeling like that!”

When asked to describe his experience at MECC thus far, Hall summed it up in one word – “tremendous!” In fact, Hall feels he’d be lost had it not been for the college.

“Without Mountain Empire, I’d probably be living under a bridge. I don’t have any other skills. Without the hope and support they’ve given me, I don’t know where I’d be.”

After our brief interview, Hall, the former actor turned pragmatist, would deliver one of the best performances of his life while sharing his MECC experience with state lawmakers during Every Day is Community College Day. But it wasn’t so much a performance as it was a heartfelt observation.

“Community college is a lifeline for young people, especially in southwestern Virginia where the coal mines are down and no one has a career. Community college is a savior in southwestern Virginia!”'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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