More than 130 graduate, moms too

May 20, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

INWOOD, W.VA. - "Kimberly A. Davis."

Just as her name was announced as a nursing graduate Friday night, voices from the audience responded in unison.

"Alright, Mom!" her sons hollered from their seats.

Davis, of Kearneysville, W.Va., was one of more than 130 students of The Community and Technical College of Shepherd - mothers included - to graduate Friday. It was the college's first commencement since it became a separate accredited institution.

Stephanie L. Delawder, the first graduate on stage at Musselman High School in Inwood, was the only graduate to receive two degrees - an associate of arts in general studies and an associate of science in nursing.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the keynote speaker, encouraged graduates to be true to their roots and stay in West Virginia to continue their success.


"Be willing to give back some of the gifts that you have," she said.

Capito also stressed the importance of "being civil and learning how to treat people well." She said she has been appointed the head of a Task Force on the Congress as an Institution to study civility - but she's the only member so far.

"I think the way you act and treat each other is a reflection of your character," Capito said.

Nora Growden of Bunker Hill, W.Va., who received an associate of applied science degree in office technology, worked for a factory in Winchester, Va., for 16 years, then was laid off.

Growden now works for a neurosurgeon. She started as a receptionist for a year, then became an outpatient assistant.

Growden's husband, Thomas, was laid off from the same company at the same time as his wife. He expects to get a degree in electromechanics from CTC.

Margie Ways, an assistant professor of workforce development at CTC, said she worked with about 25 students this year, many of whom lost longtime jobs and had to start new careers.

Heather Pellerito received an associate of applied science degree after finishing the college's paralegal program. She brought her 2-month-old son, Andrew Jr., with her to commencement.

Davis' four sons surrounded and congratulated her in the hallway after the ceremony. She plans to get a job at a Virginia hospital.

Asked how she balanced being both a student and a mother during two years of prerequisite classes and two years of nursing classes, Davis said, "A very supportive husband."

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