>Give special recognition to graduating moms

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This week a long-time and close friend graduated from junior college and received her Associates degree with honors.   While this may seem like a small achievement to some, I am here to tell you that her success involved endless sacrifices.  I am extremely proud of her and overjoyed for her success! 
She’s a single mother of three children and like so many moms, always put her kids needs before her own. Her desire to attend college was shelved until she felt attending college would not interfere with their individual needs.
Countless moms (and single dads) undertake the journey of furthering their education.  Whether the goal is a GED, an Associates degree, a Bachelor’s degree, or other advanced degree, the sacrifice and commitment is all the same.
Kids homework, groceries, laundry, house cleaning, cooking, coaching, counseling, coordinating schedules, transporting the kids to activities, holidays, birthdays, nurturing all the relationships in the home, and working a second job out side the home (for some).
Add to the above, mommy’s classes, lectures, homework, papers, projects, quizzes, exams!  Oh yeah, did I mention sleep?
You cannot begin to imagine the mental and physical demands of maintaining this routine for any extended period of time.  Only God or another spiritual connection and a supportive network of family and friends can get you through such an exhausting and taxing journey.
Trying to keep everything going simultaneously is a bizarre juggling act
The experience of making a commitment to oneself and following through to the end is an incredible rewarding, uplifting, and exhilarating feeling. 
After nearly 11 years of attending day, evening, night, weekend classes, and sometimes, commuting twice a day (a one hour drive each way) in 2002, I proudly walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor’s degree at Rowan University. 
Strolling across the stage with my much younger and fellow graduates was one of the best feelings in my life!  The moment was incredibly emotional and rewarding. 
Like so many other women, I was the first in my family to receive a college degree.  My mom was proud.  My dad died my senior year in high school.  He made his spiritual presence when I received my high school diploma and revisited as I received my diploma in hand at Rowan. 
For a mom, furthering her education is empowering.  Moms often nurture everyone else except for herself.  Success in each class validates the process.  It’s the one thing in her day, her week, her month, her year that she do for herself and no one else.
So when I read or hear about another woman’s accomplishment, I say cheers!  Kudos!  Congratulations! And then some!  Because I know firsthand how the road is paved with potholes, detours and road closures, yet we diligently persevere.
A special segment in every college graduation ceremony should be dedicated to graduating mothers.  These accomplished moms usually work twice as hard as their classmates and deserve special recognition.
Congratulations to all the graduating women this spring; you rock!!

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