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78 get Mountain State diplomas

June 04, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Laurie Rind walked off a stage Friday night with her Mountain State University diploma in her right hand, and the hand of her 4-year-old daughter, Kaylee, in the other.

"I'm a single mother. We did it together," Rind, who received a bachelor's degree in nursing, said afterward.

Rind, 28, of Hedgesville, said she plans to continue working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, and begin work toward a master's degree.

"She was basically my influence," Rind said of Kaylee. "She was my driving force."

While previously working toward her associate's degree in nursing, Rind said she would hold her daughter, rock her and read her nursing books aloud to her.

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"I did this for her," Rind said. "She's the reason why I wake up every morning."

Rind received one of the 78 diplomas handed out during the graduation ceremony at Hedgesville High School.

The students attended Mountain State University's Martinsburg campus.

For Katrina Heath, the graduation marked the end of a sometimes difficult journey that included 2 a.m. reading sessions and trying to juggle a career and family.

"(It was) rough for a while," said Steven Heath, as he looked at his wife. "I kept focus of her outcome. I'm proud of her."

The couple has two children, Ryan, 5, and Alex, 2.

Katrina Heath, 35, teaches fifth grade at Mill Creek Intermediate School in Inwood, W.Va. She received a master's degree in strategic leadership in business.

She said she hopes to become certified to teach business courses.

Her fifth-graders did more than commiserate with her on the dreads of homework.

"I actually used them as help. They'd help pump me up," Heath said. "I had a great group of fifth-graders this year."

Other degrees handed out were master's degrees in nursing, associate's degrees in general studies, and bachelor's degrees in information technology and organizational leadership.

One bachelor's degree in administration of criminal justice was awarded, as was one bachelor's degree in organizational leadership, management and development.

A first Student of the Year award was presented to a surprised David Crabtree.

Crabtree, 47, received a master's degree in strategic leadership.

While announcing the award, Assistant Professor Roland Jacobs talked about Crabtree's leadership on campus, superior academic achievement and his research project centered on a free clinic in Virginia.

Crabtree said after the ceremony that he attended college in the 1970s, but didn't finish his degree program.

Finally receiving his degree was a dream come true that would not have been possible without the help of his wife, Pennie, he said.

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