Thursday, June 2, 2016

Featured Learners: Emma Morando-Young & Anthony Young

A mother's dream 
Is there anything more inspiring than a family putting their education first?  While many parents strive to teach their children the importance of earning a degree, it takes a special kind of family to walk the talk.  The Morando-Young family has clearly placed an importance on learning, and it all started with one determined mom.

Emma Leigh Morando-Young is military wife, mother, and soon to be Peirce graduate.   She had to stop her formal education at a young age, but she never lost the desire to go to school.
“After becoming a military wife at age 16, my education was put on the shelf,” Emma stated. “But, it was never out of my mind.”

Emma was busy raising her children and caring for her family, but it’s clear that education was still a priority for her.  She had a desire to learn and excel, so she eventually went back to school.  Emma was able to get her GED at the age of 26, but that was only the beginning of her educational achievements.   When she was 32 she received her associate’s degree in paralegal studies at Peirce.  She wanted to earn another degree, but she would be doing things differently this time around.  Emma went from studying solo to making school a family affair.

“In 2013 I began another education journey at Peirce, but this time I wasn't alone,” Emma explained.  “This time I would be joined by my husband Anthony and daughter Bene’t. We decided to take on our education as a family.”

The family that studies together, graduates together
The timing was perfect.  Her husband Anthony decided to take advantage of his GI Bill and he began to pursue a degree in criminal justice.  Her daughter Bene’t was one of the first graduates of Peirce’s Year Up program, and was eager to continue her education.  Bene’t had a love of technology, so she chose to study computer programming.

The family’s hard work has paid off immensely.  Anthony and Emma will both be walking during our June 2016 commencement.  Anthony will earn his associate's degree and is finishing Magna Cum Laude, and has affectionately been given the nickname of “Egghead” from his 15 year old son Kyron. Anthony and Bene’t are both working to finish their bachelor’s degrees and are set to graduate together next year.  Some people couldn’t imagine having their entire family enrolled in school, but Emma and Anthony found a way to make it work. 

“During our journey we have had many ups and downs.  We have grown into a strong support system for each other. We also had great support from friends and family.  We made sure that we made time for family in between work, studying, and school.”

Reflecting on the unique experience her family has had of going to college together, Emma has a lot of positive takeaways.  She’s been shown the true power family can have when they encourage and support each other to accomplish a shared goal, and hopes that she’ll continue to inspire her family. 

“My husband and I are marking this down on a list of our marriage achievements.  I want this achievement to show my children that it is never too late to reach your goals.  And with family support anything can be achieved.  I am truly blessed to share this with them.”

For more information about how you can earn the degree you need to get the career you deserve, click here.