Monday, June 01, 2009

Mom is a Graduate

A couple of weekends ago, my Mom at age 55, became a college graduate, the first in her family. I am very proud of her achievement, and know how hard it was for her on many levels. She graduated valedictorian with a 3.96 GPA from Marygrove College in Detroit with a BSW (Bachelors in Social Work). I would like to take a minute to reflect on some of the hurdles that my Mom had to overcome to arrive a such a wonderful achievement this spring. 

She grew up in Auburn Hills Michigan in the farm country which was in the process of developing into the suburbs of Detroit. Fairly classic white flight region, she was the daughter of a WWII vet who came home to work for a construction firm doing bids and various other tasks. The family had its problems with the typically rambunctious kids getting the attention while my Mom just tried to keep her head down and stay out of trouble. She was the classic "good one" and manged to keep her nose out of drugs, sex, and all the other things that can so easily de-rail the teenager life. 

The problem was with society. You have this obviously intelligent girl who has a bright future, but no one to tell her that she could and should achieve the stars. In fact my Mom has told me a story about her high school guidance councillor, whom we all know can be rather hit or miss. My Mom wanted to become a teacher when she was in high school, and said as much to her councillor. The councillor (among others) basically told her, why? All you need to do is marry a rich man and you will be all set. Look out for that diamond ring, pop out a baby and go from there. It is so sad to think about how different my Mom's (and my own) life would be if that person had said something encouraging. I probably wouldn't even be alive...

My Mom has always harped on getting a proper education. I can't tell you how many young girls my Mom grilled about getting into college and getting some kind of a degree. I think that she always felt partially powerless about her employment situation, and didn't want other girls to go through the same trials and tribulations. I can remember time and again when girl-friends would come over to my place, they would always get an ear full from my Mom about graduating from high school and going on to college. She always painted it as a non-option, rather, something that you JUST DO!

Now, after a marriage, having two kids, losing one of them tragically to a drowning, a divorce, raising her niece through the trials of puberty, a re-marriage, getting her son through college, some financial distress, and the pressure of being an older student- she has done it! She has put her money where her mouth is and snagged that degree from the sky. 

I am so proud of her, I can hardly stand it. Here is to you Mom, I hope this boosts you to a profession that you have always wanted- to be a teacher. 

She has been accepted at the University of Michigan School of Social Work for the 2010 Class. UofM has a great program (ranked 2nd according to this site). She's been pretty snarky about it being "HER" school, but I'd just like to point out who went first!  =P take that mom!


Anonymous said...
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Jesse said...

Whoever wrote that- uncalled for!

I was merely expressing pride in my Mom's accomplishments. Don't bring your hate here. If you have kids, you can only hope that they care about you the same as I do my mother.

Jesse said...

Besides, the past is in the past. Let's all move on.

Nick said...

That is an amazing story. Anytime you are able to "put your nose to the grindstone" and complete something, it is quite an accomplishment. I am also proud of your Mother, and all the hard work she has done in her life.

To Debbie,

I want to say, "Great job." It is quite an accomplishment and dedication to finish such a degree.

Some day, I hope to be the counselor that doesn't make you question your goals, but invokes you to strive for them.

Liz Dembski said...

Debbie, I am SO proud of you!
You have always faced adversity with poise, grace and capability. You succeeded when you put your mind to it. Cheers to all your accomplishments, the greatest of all having raised a compassionate, intelligent and creative son.