Justus, Caleb and Joshua Marsh grew up in Watauga County. As brothers, they share many family traditions and connections. One is their passion for Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. All three brothers are alumni of the institution and all three of them are also now instructors on the college’s Watauga Campus in Boone.
Justus Marsh, the eldest of the Marsh clan, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Religion from Appalachian State University and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate at Regent University in Virginia. But prior to that, Justus began his studies at CCC&TI at the age of 16. He says that his decision to start his educational journey at CCC&TI was based, in large part, on health issues. “The CCC&TI programs permitted me to pursue my education in a learning environment that was conducive to my personal needs,” he said. That decision was the beginning of a family tradition for the Marsh men.
Caleb Marsh earned his high school equivalency degree at CCC&TI in 1997. According to the middle Marsh “the allure of a shift manager’s position at the local Dairy Queen was far greater than my desire to finish high school.” When Caleb completed his GED, he received a $100 scholarship from the Foundation of CCC&TI to cover tuition and books if he chose to continue his education at CCC&TI. “I didn’t want to lose the $100, so I applied and began studies toward an Associate Degree on the Watauga Campus.”
While taking college courses at CCC&TI, Caleb said he discovered a passion for mathematics and statistics. From CCC&TI, he transferred to nearby Appalachian State where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics and a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Old Dominion University and hopes to graduate by May of 2018.
By the time younger brother Joshua Marsh turned 16, he says his brothers’ experiences had already convinced him that CCC&TI was the best first step toward achieving his goals, as well. “I knew the GED would provide me with a path to success and I was very motivated to be two years ahead of my graduating class from high school. I knew completing the GED at 16 would give me an instant jumpstart to my academic career.” Joshua went on to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemistry and is now a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He hopes to complete his studies in Spring of 2018.
It’s been more than two decades since the Marsh men began their educational journeys at CCC&TI. And now the journey has come full circle. All three of them are currently instructors on the college’s Watauga Campus in Boone. Caleb Marsh is employed full time at CCC&TI and teaches all levels of mathematics and statistics. He is also a certified appreciative advisor and serves as Faculty Senate President. Justus Marsh, who is a staff attorney with the State of Tennessee, is a part-time Business Law instructor. Joshua Marsh is employed full time with the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce as Director of Project Development and Events and is a part-time chemistry instructor.
While their areas of expertise vary, their opinions on CCC&TI are fairly consistent. Caleb says “I have always felt a strong connection to the college. I remember learning so much from the people at this institution and now I get the chance to help educate future generations. It’s been very rewarding.” Justus Marsh agreed. “Teaching at CCC&TI has been one of the high points of my professional career. To have the opportunity to give back to an institution that meant so much to me as a young man has been a true joy.” Joshua added, “I am very honored to be working at CCC&TI. I believe that CCC&TI established a strong foundation for me to continue my work as an academic. Being able to work at the same institution as my brothers has been an interesting experience as well.”
All three of the Marsh brothers said without hesitation that they would recommend CCC&TI to prospective students for both the quality of instruction and the affordable tuition costs. “To the potential student looking for an opportunity to receive a stellar, meaningful education at an affordable cost… you can find no better institution than CCC&TI.” Caleb added that, thanks to CCC&TI, he was able to complete his first four years of college totally debt-free. “Going the two-year route not only afforded me an education that is second to none, but it did so at a much cheaper cost,” he said.
All three brothers are also pleased with the experiences they’ve had so far as instructors at the college. “I think it speaks volumes about CCC&TI that my brothers and I are all able and willing to come back and teach in our respective fields,” said Joshua. “The family atmosphere fostered by the Trustees and administrators of the college truly make this the greatest college to work for in the state,” added Caleb. “I would encourage any prospective employee to consider CCC&TI as a place to begin, continue or finish their career.”
Are there drawbacks to working with your siblings? For the Marsh brothers, the biggest issue might be communicating with students via phone or email. “Email and telephone have been somewhat problematic,” says Caleb, who gets asked routinely if he’s the “Mr. Marsh who teaches chemistry.” But it’s a minor burden that he says he’s happy to bear. “I am so proud of my family and to work alongside them has truly been an honor.”