Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Education through the years: One student’s decades-long journey to obtain his degree

FATHER AND DAUGHTER: Kevin and his daughter
are now both Peirce grads!
Here at Peirce, we understand how challenging being an adult learner can be, and it is why we are so proud of our students for balancing work, school, and life. Many of them push through coursework while maintaining extremely successful, high profile careers.

Kevin "KC" Drayton, Contact Agent for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is an example of this. His higher education journey began in the 1980s and culminated last night when he graduated Magna Cum Laude and with Delta Mu Delta International Society honors, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.

KC's path to his degree has included service to our country, cultivating a happy family life, and experiences in travel and volunteer work that are worthy of true admiration. Read KC's inspiring story below:

Life moves fast and so does the business world. I realized that I had to continue my education in technology and business policies in order to remain gainfully employed after becoming a husband and father in the 1980s. Although numerous family matters and social issues derailed my college education, I persisted and am so excited to have graduated.  My journey as a student and professional was not a traditional one, and life took me to many unexpected places before leading me through the doors of Peirce College.

As a teenager in the late 1970s attending Mercy Vocational High School (a.k.a. Mercy Tech), I became familiar with what was known then as Peirce Junior College after being awarded The Urban League of Philadelphia’s Good Citizenship Award. It never occurred to me then, that many years later my daughter would attend what is known today as Peirce College and complete her paralegal studies certificate with a 4.0 GPA in 2006. She often told me how supportive and understanding the faculty, staff, and administration had been in helping her achieve her goal of a paralegal certificate.

As long as I can recall, I have always harbored a desire to be a professional and effective leader that provided a unique service. That goal instilled in me the importance of earning a college degree. However for one reason or another, even as my career progressed and I managed to succeed in the professional world, my goal to earn my college degree continued to elude me.

Before graduating from Mercy Tech in 1978, I enlisted and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves until my honorable discharge in 1983. I enlisted in the Reserves in order to pay for my college education at Ohio Institute of Technology, known today as DeVry Institute of Technology in Columbus, Ohio. Unfortunately after my first semester, I was informed that the recruiter misled me and the rest of my college education would not be paid. The USMC Reserves offered me the option for a general discharge; however I declined that offer and decided to serve my full term and sought other ways to fund my education. Sadly, due to major family setbacks at home, I decided to relocate back to Philadelphia.

Later in 1979, my disappointment turned to joy when I married my high school sweetheart and that union created two wonderful children, Marlene and Kevin Noel. Realizing my responsibilities as a new husband and father in 1980, I purposely sought out a professional business career over my electrician’s training at Mercy Tech thinking, “when I get home from work, I did not want to have to take a shower, just to kiss and hug my wife and children.” That was a decision I never regretted!

My professional career started in 1981 at Aydin Monitor Systems as a Production Expeditor. There, I was able to advance to Jr. Buyer, Buyer and finally, Purchasing Agent. I continued to pursue a purchasing career as I moved forward in more challenging positions at various companies.   At the same time I continued my quest for a college degree by attending Montgomery County Community College in the 1990s and Rutgers University at the turn of the century.
While working at Scientific Games, I was able to obtain a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) certification and; designed and implemented a purchase requisition tracing system using the company’s intranet. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulty, Scientific Games had massive lay-offs in 2003 and I lost my position at the company.

Instead of allowing this to be a setback, I created an opportunity for myself, and founded StarBrite Housing & Community Development Corporation in 2003 to provide financial literacy training to potential homebuyers. StarBrite conducted financial workshops and seminars with a focus on credit report repair, opening checking and savings accounts; and basic negotiating skills for better pricing. Also during this time, I traveled on humanitarian trips to West Africa, South America, Central America and South Asia.

Regrettably StarBrite was not as profitable as foreseen, so I made a transition into the financial sales industry after being recruited by a business associate in May 2004. I began my mortgage sales career, but quickly discovered the industry wasn’t a good fit for me, and resigned where I was in 2006 just before the financial crisis. I then proceeded to improve my sales knowledge at a non-profit, faith-based organization named Crown Financial Ministries in Georgia. Crown teaches financial principles for a debt free life.

At this point, I had extensive professional experience in various industries.  Still, I felt that earning my degree was an important accomplishment that I needed to conquer in order to meet my personal definition of success. 

I returned home to Philadelphia in 2009 in order to become a caretaker for my ailing mother and handicapped older brother. All the aforementioned jobs, education and experiences have led me to my current position as a Contact Agent for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Once I returned home, I recalled those comments from my daughter about Peirce College. Well, I can now speak from personal experience on just how supportive Peirce College has been in achieving my goal of obtaining a Business Administration degree with a concentration in Management in 2014.

Peirce College's support came through again this spring semester after I experienced my most difficult challenge with the loss of both my mother and brother within 11 days of each other. From the onset, Peirce responded to my inquiries and questions promptly, professionally and consistently. With the courses available online, accelerated schedules and flexible class options, Peirce College was ideal for this hard working business professional to realize my dream of achieving a degree in Business Administration- Management concentration by June 2014, with Magna Cum Laude and Delta Mu Delta International Society honors.