Partners in Learning Family Highlights

Matthew Pacheco

Mathew came to us when he was 8 months old, after having suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was severely bruised and suffering from seizures and he couldn’t sit on his own or even hold his head up on his own. We were told that he would likely never walk or talk by the specialists that were treating him. He started at Partners in Learning once he came to us, and they all immediately fell in love with him!!!!

Mathew was at PIL from 8 months of age until he went to Preschool. He passed through many classrooms (and many arms of employees) during his time at PIL. He got services from the DEC, and things they were working on were carried over into his daily routine at daycare and at home. Before leaving PIL, Mathew was both walking and talking.

Today, Mathew is almost 17 years old and is a sophomore at Salisbury High School. He has passed Drivers Ed and will soon be getting his permit. The damage that he suffered as a baby is something he will always have to carry with him and find ways to overcome, but thanks to some special people who loved him and put a lot of time into helping him grow to his potential, he is a walking, talking miracle today!!!!!  ~ Carolyn Morgan


Megan Honeycutt Berg

meganmegan1The first time I walked into Partners In Learning, I was an 8 or 9 year old child being accompanied by my first foster mother.  At the time, I didn’t know that I had met the woman who would eventually become my “forever mom,” the Executive Director.  I didn’t visit Partners In Learning again until I was about 10 years old, except that time was different.  I was walking in with my new foster mom, Norma Honeycutt.  My first thoughts were that I loved what she was doing, and how she helped children and their families.  I had heard of child care centers, but had never been to any others so I shrugged it off as just a place where children are babysat every day.  Needless to say, I was more wrong than I have ever been.  From that day forward, Partners In Learning became my second home, and it became a part of me.  I volunteered any chance I could get, and met so many amazing people that have changed my life in more ways than they could begin to imagine.  The love that this place exudes as soon as a person walks through the door is one that I have not been able to find at another business.  Without Partners In Learning, I would not have discovered my passion in life as quickly as I did.  Partners In Learning has been so much more to me than a child care center.  It brought me to my forever family, and has taught me the value of early education.  I am forever grateful for Partners In Learning!


Aleshya Spruill

aleshyaaleshya-spruillPartners In Learning has been my saving grace. When I first started working here up to now, my life has changed tremendously! I started out as a young, unexperienced high school student, that had a desire to work with children; to a mature Professional and qualified teacher (and mother of 3 now.) I not only love being and working with the children, but I get great excitement and fulfillment from it. This is the reason I was put here on earth. I get to live my life’s dream everyday I enter the doors at Partners. This will FOREVER be home for me.


Ayden Ashley

aidenThere is no way to accurately convey the love our family has for Partners In Learning. PIL and staff have been with us through every facet of our son, Ayden’s life. Most importantly they saw us through his Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. Without their guidance that journey would have been much more unclear and scary. Ayden is on his 10thyear at PIL! They love him endlessly and it is the one place that my fears as a parent of a special needs child are set aside because I know he is surrounded by people who know, understand and love him. We look forward to many more years with PIL! ~  The Ashley’s


Kayla Spells

kaylakaylaPartners in Learning is a jewel in the crown of the North Carolina early education system. We were fortunate enough to have Kayla enrolled in this incredible program from the age two until she entered kindergarten. Each day the wonderful educators exposed Kayla to exciting and intellectually stimulating activities in a setting of warmth and love.  Every teacher knows the name of every student.  The administration is supportive of the staff and personally invested in the success of every child.  Just talking with Norma for a few minutes makes you actually FEEL how much she cares about the staff and children.  Kayla has gone on to have great success, which we can directly link to her early learning experience at PIL. The staff fostered a curiosity about the world, a deep love of learning and taught the value of hard work. She is now a sophomore in high school and has maintained straight A’s throughout the years.  She is a Duke Talent Identification Program participant and is planning to pursue a career in Biomedical Engineering. Kayla loves the sport of volleyball and has played on the highest team for her age level for Triangle Volleyball Club for the last two years. She currently leads her high school conference in hitting efficiency and has been contacted by multiple colleges including MIT, Cornell, Cal Tech and Emory due to their interest in her as a student athlete. Partners in Learning also instilled the values of empathy and altruism in Kayla.  Children are taught to care for and support one another.  The PIL administration and staff model this with their relationships with each other and each family. Kayla is constantly praised as a positive, caring person by teachers, coaches and peers. She was voted the most outstanding student by her peers in three of her four classes last year. She has been made a captain of her varsity high school volleyball team as a sophomore.  Partners in Learning has managed to maintain or exceed its own standards of excellence in education over the years.  We are so honored to have been a part of this incredible family.


Zachary Bates and Nicole Bates

Zachary is in his second year of college. Nicole is a sophomore in high school.  Zachary has just started,  and still undecided.  Nicole would like to go to the west coast for college after high school.  She is very environmentally conscious, but has still not decided exactly she wants to be when she grows up. J   Partners In Learning was the most amazing place!  I never had any apprehensions leaving my children with such a loving group!  Lasting memories and friends were made during our time at PIL! ~  Angela Batesnicole-and-zach


Jared Perdue

Down Syndrome doesn’t define Jared.  Jared is in the CCAC 8th grade class at North Rowan Middle School.He loves going to school and is sad when he can’t. He loves his friends and teachers He was an all A Honor roll student and was selected to play in the last basket ball game on March 7th 2015 and made the first basket of the night and I would also like to thank Partners in  Learning for being advocates of children with Special Needs and promoting inclusion because that is where it all began.  ~ Anita Perdue


Justin and James Boyd

James is in the picture with a plaid button down and a boat in the background.  We were on a college visit to Johns Hopkins in April. Justin is at NASA in Florida.   We were there to see one of the rockets take off in March.  Both boys received a great start in their school journey at Partners in Learning. As I reflect back on their time at Partners in Learning these are the things I feel that really helped them:

  1. They learned how to interact well with other children from early on.  Justin struggled with personal space at first because he was ADHD.  Normapatiently helped us work through this dilemma and he was set to go when it came time for preschool.
  2. They learned organization.  Everything has its place.  We built cubbies in hour house just like school and they use  these to this day to keep up with their school and sports gear.
  3. They got sick.  Did you read that right.  Yes they got sick.  My pediatrician told me that every child will have 20-30 illnesses before they are adults. He told me that children that go to do daycare many of them early and that is a good thing.  This saves them from missing school when it really matters.  I can count on two hands the number of days James and Justin missed school from illness between kindergarten and 12thgrade.  Perfect attendance makes a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to achieve academically.  James and Justin got great immunity from being in daycare at Partners in Learning.
  4. They learned a work ethic.  They learned that everyone has a job to do. They learned that each day mom and dad get up to work and they get up to learn.   If we all do our job during the day they we can all have fun in the evening together.  Even when they started school they came home and finished their homework right away so that once everyone was home from work and school we could all relax together.   They almost never had time to sleep late and watch TV on weekdays, but it served them well.

James and Justin are both seniors in high school.  Justin wants to attend UNC-Chapel Hill next year and James wants to attend Duke.  I feel confident that they will each be able to achieve their dreams.  I am grateful that Partners in Learning was available for my children 17 years ago. ~  Kathy Boyd


Marius Doyle

mariusMarius graduated with honors from West Rowan in 2014 and has almost completed the GM ASEP program at CPCC (Central Piedmont) to be certified Master Mechanic. (He is taking 1 online class now and has 1 more online elective to be done – these classes were not offered during the regular time he was there, so he’s taking them now). He attended CPCC under a sponsorship from Classic Chervrolet in Kannapolis and a full academic scholarship from CPCC. He is also on the President’s list at CPCC. He now works at Randy Marion in Mooresville. He has loved all things mechanical and has known since he was about 12 that he wanted to be a master mechanic. He is in the middle of remodeling some older cars as well – that is his hobby. ~ Thanks, Kelli Doyle


Ryan Brooks

ryanryanOnce you are around Ryan, he will touch your heart and you will forever be changed.”

Ryan started PIL at 18 months old and it was the best decision we ever made.  When it came time for Ryan to start school he was ready.  Also it made his transition easier, because he had an IEP in place.  For some special needs students this is so hard to get.  I am so thankful a friend told me about PIL.  Ryan is now 15 years old and a sophomore at South Rowan High School.  He loves going to school and will tell you he does not like weekends because there is no school.  He is in the Special Olympics for 200m, shot-put and bowling.  He plays baseball for the Spencer Cal Ripken Buddy Ball league.  He loves all kinds of country music singers, but his favorites are Johnny Cash, Elvis and a local country singer Darrell Harwood.  His favorite time of year is Christmas.  He always has a smile and a hug for everyone.  I thank God every day that he gave me such a wonderful gift and lets me be his Mommy.  ~ Kim Sikes


Jacob Usher  

A place where all children can grow and learn. Where all children are seen for their abilities and not their disabilities.

You know I still cry today. I cry when I think of what you and your staff meant to Jacob and our family. We could have not done it without your love and support. I can still see the smile on his sweet face when we would come to visit. He knew he was home.  ~Linda Hawkins

jacob-usher1 jacob  jacob


Marklyn Holmes

marklynalumni_2Marklyn Holmes is 17 years old and a junior at Carson High School.  He is interest in cooking and maybe benign a chief one day.  He is take a cooking class at school.  He still uses his hearing aids, but not as consistently as he should.  As he gets older, he has recognized the difference they make.~  Kimberly Holmes


Taylor Rodenhuis

usma-cadet-taylor-rodenhuis-2016-copy12taylor-rodenhuis-partners-in-learning-3-copy1He’s in his 3rd year as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Taylor is a mechanical engineering major with a focus on systems engineering.  My guess is that all the time he spent at Partners in Learning in the blocks stations helped him to hone his skill and love of hands-on activities!

We were so pleased with Taylor’s time at Partners in Learning.  The foundation he learned there was instrumental to his later success at Salisbury Academy and Salisbury High, and led to his acceptance at West Point.  Whenever I am asked about daycares, I always recommend Partners in Learning.  It’s hard to believe it’s 20 years now since the doors were opened at PIL and 20 years since Taylor entered his first school!  PIN truly is a school with so much hands on learning, socialization and loving care.

Thank you sincerely for all you and your staff have done over the years for the children in our community!   ~Sheri Rodenhuis


Ambria Barbee

ambriaambria-1Ambria’s time at Partners In Learning was so crucial to her mental, physical and social development.  It was a time in her life that her values and personality could have taken a different path.  The loving and nurturing atmosphere will forever be with her.  Our family will is so grateful for the opportunity to have Ambria’s formative years there.  She is a senior at South Rowan high now, has worked hard to achieve academic success and social acceptance.  She is in National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, a Captain of the cheer squad and was honored to be on the homecoming court for 2 years of her high school experience.  She hopes to attend UNCW next year.  ~ Bonnie Corriher


Jessica Driver

Jessica lives with her grandparents, Mickey and Pat Driver in Salisbury.  She is a junior at Rowan County Early College and loves the challenge of taking college courses.  Jessica enjoys volunteering and participating in several clubs including Junior Civitans and Red Cross.  She had 10 years of dance instruction and still participates in Zumba classes.  She would like to become a Zumba Instructor in the near future.  Her main interests are centered around healthy living and the enviornment.  She also loves to tour old houses.  She plans to major in environmental studies in college and travel to many countries as an adult.


Kelly Short

kelly-shortjpgkellyKelly started PIL  at the age of 18months.  She had never been in a childcare setting; all she new was me and Dions family.  This was very challenging for her in many ways from only her grandparents taking care of her too having two African American teachers. But after a long transition and many tears. She became very independent and learned to love and accept everyone no matter their race or diabilties. It was at PIL in the the dolphins class that she decided she wanted to be a baby doctor.  And now after entering school very prepared, she is on the final road to that journey.  She graduated 4th out of 300 from Carson High School. She also graduated with high honors. She now attends UNC Chapel Hill on almost a full academic scolarship. At this time she is studying pre med.  ~Mary Short


Chase Thompson

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for giving my child the best start that anyone could ever ask for or even expect.  My son, Chase Thompson, started there in 1997 when he was about 8 months old.   He needed to learn social skills and how to be around other children because he was kept at home with my mother and used her as his safety net.  We quickly watched him engage with other children and be less fearful of non-family members.   He seemed to flourish and while at the PIL and as time passed he became inquisitive and outgoing and loved to learn.  Chase has always been the youngest in his class with his birthday being in October and when he started Kindergarten I was scared of them not being ready.  Chase was not only ready for the task, but tested on a first grade level when he started kindergarten and I owe that all to PIL.   PIL is not a daycare in any sense of the word, but it is a high learning institution and I will be forever grateful for the staff for challenging my son and getting him ready for the future.

What I remember most is all of the love and attention that each staff member always gave to my son and all the hugs and kisses when I could not be there when he would fall or just did not feel welcil.  Your staff truly knows the sense of family and treating each child like their own.  I never once left the center and worried about the safety of him or any other child.

Chase went on to later attend North Rowan High School where he wrestled, played tennis and ran cross country and joined ROTC and graduated 4th in his senior class.  Chase attends Appalachian State University on an academic scholarship, where he is a member of the snow board team, Sigma Alpha Lambda (National Leadership and Honors) and completed his first year of college on the Dean’s List.

Chase also met one of his best friends at PIL, Christian Hester and they are still friends to this day even though they attend different colleges, they keep in contact on a regular basis.

I cannot tell you how grateful that I am in regards to always knowing that while Chase was with you that you not only kept him safe and loved him, but you taught him to be a thinker, a great student, independent and a great friend to others and treat everyone with respect and dignity.   What a small price to pay for all that you have given to my son and our family throughout the 4 years that Chase attended PIL.  Sincerely, Melonie Thompson (mom)


Garrett Ingold  

garretgarret1High School Activities/Accomplishments

  • Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track – 4 years
  • Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band (Trombone)
  • Honor Roll Student
  • Student Council
  • Junior Marshall – 2015
  • National Honor Society
  • 2015 NC Governor’s School East Attendee – Mathematics
  • All County Scholar – 2016
  • Co-Valedictorian Carson High School – 2016


  • Attending Duke University, Durham NC – Pratt School of Engineering

Plans to declare major in Mechanical Engineering

Employed at Food Lion Inc. – April 2016

Time has really flown by since Garrett’s days at Partners in Learning.  Thanks to you and all his wonderful teachers for the care and attention given to Garrett in his early years. ~ Dana & Kathy Ingold


Simon Post

Simon Post is a junior at Salisbury High School. He is an honor student and a member of the Salisbury Youth Council and the Salisbury High Golf Team. Partners in Learning gave Simon a strong foundation in learning how to read and enjoying books. It also helped him develop socially and learn how to get along with other people.

simmon simon-post

Carter Brown

carter-11 carter21Carter recently graduated from Bentonville High School in Bentonville, AR with a 3.45 GPA in addition to being 4-year letterman for the Varsity baseball team.  He will be fulfilling his dream of playing college baseball this Fall at the University of AR – Little Rock while studying business and computer sciences.   On the rare occasions when Carter is not playing baseball, you can find him fishing, hanging out with his friends/girlfriend or taking part in his church youth activities.  Carter is a wonderful young man and we can’t wait to see what the future has to hold for him!

“Partners in Learning had a profound impact on all three of my children’s lives, but especially my son, Carter Brown.   Carter was born deaf and received a cochlear implant when he was 19 month’s old.  PIL had just started their inclusion program as we were facing the initial diagnosis.  I firmly believe if not for the tremendous support and resources Carter and our entire family received at PIL he would not have had the opportunity to develop into the successful young man he is today.  Norma and her staff hold such a special place in our hearts and we still consider them our family.   Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you did for our family!!  I’m sitting here crying as I type these words!!!  Please give our love to everyone!!” ~Cheri Brown