NEWBERRY — Black History Month is a month set aside to recognize the achievements of African Americans who have been contributing to the construction of a more egalitarian and fraternal country, while remaining in the memories and hearts of many people who use their steps to guide their lives and to escort their conducts.
Mildred Goggans is among those who have been contributing to a fairer society, helping people to follow their dreams and working towards her own goals with the fierceness and determination of a strong-minded woman.
Goggans was born in Newberry in 1951. After two years of studies at Friendship Junior College, in Rock Hill, she transferred to Benedict College, where she received her undergraduate degree in Physical Education.
She landed her first job in 1972 as the girls’ basketball coach at Newberry High School, where she worked for 12 years.
Goggans then received her master’s degree in counseling from South Carolina State University in 1984. That same year, she was offered a job as a school counselor at Mid-Carolina High School. She recalled the 22 years of work at Mid-Carolina High School with great joy.
“I always thought I wanted to teach at college level, but once I started working with high school children I enjoyed it,” she said.
Goggans said after retiring in 2005, she received a call from David Green, director of the Newberry Adult Learning Center, asking if she wanted to work there. She didn’t think twice.
Since that time, she has been working as a teacher at the Newberry Adult Learning Center, providing a meaningful education for adults to succeed in colleges, the workplace, and in society.
Green said he admires Goggans for her positive attitude, compassion for others, and dedication.
“She is a joy to work with,” Green said.
Laura Edwards, teaching assistant at the Adult Learning Center, said she has been working with Goggans for four years.
“She is a very caring person. She cares about the students and their success,” Edwards said.
Goggans has two brothers and two sisters. Her parents, Willie and Susanna Goggans, were hard working people who believed in education and wanted their children to grow vigorously, according to Goggans. She said her household was always permeated with love.
Family and God are everything in Goggans’ life, she said. She sings in the choir at her church, New Hope Baptist.
Goggans said life was not easy when she was growing up, especially when it was time to go to college. Her family was going through financial problems, but she said it never stopped her from pursuing her dreams.
Goggans received an academic scholarship and government grants to go to Friendship Junior College and after she left, she said she “did not owe them a penny.”
Goggans believes everyone must fight for his or her rights, dreams, and goals, as she mentioned a quote that she used to tell all of her athletes she coached, and students she taught.
“It is OK if you reach for the stars, you can always fall on the moon,” Goggans said.