Mother and Daughter Graduate Together, Begin New Phases of Their Lives
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/7/2018
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- May 7 was a bittersweet day for Regina Wherry, 52, and Jasmine Brotemarkte, 22, a mother and daughter from Anderson who spent the last two years as Tri-County Technical College students preparing to enter new phases of their lives.
They celebrated the culmination of their hard work (both have GPAs that exceed 3.5) as they earned degrees at Tri County Technical College‘s May 7 spring commencement, but it also began a five-day countdown to when Jasmine packs up and relocates back home to Pittsburg to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Pittsburg.
“I’ll cry,” said Jasmine, who received an associate in Science degree.
“I’ll be emotional, too,” said Regina, who earned an Administrative Office Technology degree and since late last year has been working as a paralegal with the law firm of White, Davis, and White in Anderson.
“So much has happened but we did it,” said Jasmine. Regina graduates debt free, thanks to an Abney Scholarship and other financial aid. Although Jasmine acquired a small loan from her first year as an out-of-state student, she was awarded a College Foundation scholarship her second year that covered most of the costs of college.
As time passed, their relationship metamorphosed from mother and daughter to friends and study partners.
They even carpooled one semester for evening classes and during their conversations discovered they had the same professor but for a different class.
“Coming to Tri-County helped me find direction and confidence,” said Jasmine.
“For me as well,” said Regina, who, with a great deal of trepidation entered college for the first time at age 50.
At 22, Jasmine had 30-plus academic credits she earned from dual enrollment classes when she lived in Pennsylvania and she entered Tri-County as a second-semester sophomore in 2016.
Regina had worked in office management in manufacturing and had traveled all over the world with her ex-husband and his job. (She and Jasmine calculated that they moved 32 times over the years.) Before she and Jasmine relocated to the Anderson area in 2014, Regina had served as a caretaker for her ailing parents and as a result, decided to make a career change and began working as a CNA when living in Pennsylvania. When relocating to the Upstate, she decided to enter classes at the Anderson Campus, initially to study nursing.
Regina says she was intimidated by the entire experience at first. “I had a few freak-out moments when I had to take a deep breath to continue forward,” she said. She also questioned her abilities. “I hadn’t taken a test in 30 years. I soon realized if I took college seriously the instructors would take me seriously. They really want you to succeed.”
She said beginning college at the Anderson Campus was “perfect because it is a small, cozy atmosphere. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. It was very welcoming. I was nervous but people shouldn’t be afraid to come back to school for a career change. I feel younger than I did five years ago. I feel renewed. Often when women get divorced they are afraid of what is next. I tell them to go take a course at Tri-County. You’ll be amazed.”
When Jasmine moved to Anderson to live with her mother, she discovered a full-time student who was very busy. “She was also very confident and happier than I had seen her. I think it was the mix of South Carolina, career direction and the fact that everything had fallen into place for her.”
Changing her major from nursing to Administrative Office Technology led to her current position at the law practice. AOT Program Director Dr. Pam Goodman called Regina personally to ask if she’d be interested in the position and then gave her the name of the lawyer she needed to contact. “She was the first student I contacted – she ended up being the only one I needed to contact since she was hired on the spot,” said Dr. Goodman.
“During her time in the AOT program, Regina always showed a strong commitment to her studies and was an excellent role model for her peers. When recommending Regina for the position at the law firm, I knew she would represent the AOT program with great aplomb. After only a few months working as an administrative assistant, I was excited to hear that Regina was promoted to a paralegal position. Her hard work and dedication have really paid off.”
“Tri-County prepared me to do this job. The job is good for me and I am good for them,” said Regina.
Jasmine accepted an on-campus work/study position where she tutored students in the Computer and Information Technology program while managing a rigorous curriculum.
She tutored students taking both beginning and advanced computer classes including C Programming, one of the most difficult classes, said instructor George Fiori, who was Jasmine’s instructor for that class.
“She was a great choice for the work/study tutoring position because she interfaces well with her peers and she received an A in C Programming. Jasmine is an overall excellent student. She is well prepared for the University of Pittsburg,” he said.
Jasmine says she will really miss the camaraderie among the Computer and Information Technology majors and their instructors.
It was the relationships she developed there that make it difficult say goodbye, she said. “I’ve met great people here. I’ll definitely keep in touch. I feel very connected to both fellow students and instructors. Sometimes it was overwhelming but my instructors were always helpful, especially my female instructors, who were always pushing me and encouraging me to continue in a STEM-related field. Instructors Angela Ward (mathematics) and Karen Linscott (chemistry) were my mentors and gave me a great deal of support that I am very grateful for,” said Jasmine.
“I am proud that Jasmine considers me a role model. Early on, she stood out because she is diligent, driven and has an excellent work ethic. Jasmine has a plan and that makes all the difference. I have no doubt she will be successful at the University of Pittsburg,” said Linscott.
In addition to her instructors, Jasmine says her mother also served as a role model for her.
“I always admired her ability to work full time while being a full time student.”
“Beginning college at 50 was a great experience,” said Regina. “Having a great support network, between my very supportive boyfriend, Tony, and the wonderful staff at Tri-County, made all the difference. I hope that others will read our story and have the same motivation to start and complete their own great story.”