Student Success Stories - William Yeldell, Jr.
For Trooper William Yeldell, Jr., making the decision to return to school was an important one. The decision to make that school Salem Community College was an invaluable one.
“After being at SCC, I firmly believe that this was the concrete basis for the success I have achieved today,” said William, who was named SCC’s 2010 Distinguished Alumnus.
William is currently serving and protecting the public as a Delaware State Police Trooper. With five years of policing experience under his belt, he still credits his years as a student at Salem Community College as being a pivotal time in the course of his life.
After graduating in 1995 from Woodstown High School, William faced the crossroads decision of whether to continue with school or head out into the workforce. Yearning for something different, he chose to get a job. After a short stint as a service station attendant, he went to work for Lens Crafters in the lab.
As he rose through the company to the position of manager, William thought that he may have found his calling as an optometrist and decided to go back to school for training. However, after just a short while in the classrooms at Salem Community College, his true calling emerged.
“I had always had an interest in police work,” he said. “I just realized what was for me; it was law enforcement.”
That is just what William is doing today, after graduating from SCC in 2000 and Rowan University in 2003. As a Delaware State Trooper, William said he meets all sorts of people in his daily duties. Choosing to approach his job in a positive nature, he strives to be the most effectual Trooper he can be every day.
“I get in my car every day and I say, ‘Today I want to help somebody,’” he said. To accomplish this goal, William believes he relies heavily on the lessons he learned as a communications/journalism major at Salem Community College.
“More than 80 percent of what I do is communicating,” William said, “and I believe that if you don’t know how to communicate, you’ll be at a loss at this job. Taking the time to treat a person with the respect that you would want to be treated with goes a long way.”
He said he cherishes the responsibility he has been given as a Delaware State Trooper, choosing to see the best in people and wanting to help in any way he can to send them on a better path.
William’s commitment to professional excellence is being recognized. In April 2010, he received the Delaware State Police Troop “Traffic Ace 2009” award for conducting 907 traffic arrests and issuing 32 DUI citations. He also was selected to represent the State Police in Delaware’s “Click It or Ticket” marketing campaign.
While the decision to go into law enforcement was a natural one, getting back into a classroom proved to be a little more difficult for William. At 21 years of age, he said he remembers sitting in a classroom filled with younger students, wondering what he had gotten himself into.
In fact, one of his most memorable moments at Salem Community College occurred at the very start of his college days. He said he remembers the very first test he took at SCC. He hadn’t done very well and was feeling very upset and dejected about it. His feelings must have shown on his face as his instructor– Associate Professor Reginald Smith – stopped him at the door.
“He saw that I was upset so he stopped me and talked to me for about 20 minutes about what I had done wrong and where I should go from here,” William said. “At that moment, I knew that I was going to be successful here. He realized that I was discouraged, and he took the time to personally help me. I will never forget that. He really put me on the right track.”
The compassionate faculty, along with the lessons in communicating with all sorts of people helped make William’s time as a student at SCC an important one in the course of his career.
William has given back to SCC, serving as a member of the Social Science and Education Program Review Committee and helping improve, evaluate and update the College’s Criminal Justice program.
“I firmly believe SCC is the corner stone of my success,” William said. “I have a great deal of pride in Salem Community College.”