Monday, April 25, 2011

Student Overcomes Hurdles to Earn Degree


Going back to school is never easy. It takes discipline, motivation and sacrifice. For Kathryn Freeman, it took those qualities, and then some. The single mother of two young children is graduating next month from Tempe’s Rio Salado College with an associate degree in dental hygiene.

For the past year and a half, Freeman has commuted between her home in Tucson and an apartment in Phoenix, to realize her educational goals.
“Without my parents’ support, I would not have been able to finish,” Freeman said.

Four days a week, Freeman attends classes in Rio Salado’s dental hygiene program, and takes care of her daughter. Every weekend, she heads back to Tucson to reunite with her son and parents.

“My son Caden is in 3rd grade and there was no way I could work out his school schedule with mine,” Freeman said. “I am very blessed that my mother is able to care for him during the week. Leaving him every Sunday breaks my heart, but I know what I’m doing is right and that it will change our lives for the better.”

Another challenge Freeman faced when returning to school was timing. She initially applied to a dental hygiene school in Tucson, but learned there was a 4-year waiting list to enter the program.

“I chose Rio Salado’s dental hygiene program because I was accepted four months after I applied,” Freeman said. “It is a fast track program that takes only 15 months to complete. I also liked that Rio Salado has a well-respected reputation. They encourage excellence, yet they are very supportive.”

Freeman has also faced financial hurdles while pursuing her dreams of becoming a dental hygienist. Facing eviction in Ohio, she moved to Tucson with all her worldly possessions in one suitcase, to attend a community college while also working full-time as a dental assistant.

“Working allowed me to save money and buy a good car that has allowed me to commute to Tempe,” Freeman said. “It also gave me good dental experience that I believe gave me a leg up in being accepted into Rio’s hygiene program.”

Freeman offers encouragement to other single moms by reminding them that “education holds the key to a better future for yourself and your children. Even if you can’t afford to go to school full-time, it’s never too late to start picking away at a degree part-time,” she said.

At next month’s graduation, Freeman will be living proof to her children that you can accomplish your goals when you set your mind to it.

“I want my children to always strive to do their best, and without doing that myself how could I expect it from them?” Freeman said. “Graduation is a gateway towards a life I’ve been dreaming about.”

Freeman’s future plans include attending Northern Arizona University this fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, and home ownership “so my kids can finally get the dog they have been wanting!”

Rio Salado’s commencement ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 W. Adams St., Phoenix. For more information visit www.riosalado.edu/graduation.

23 comments:

Lucid Dreaming said...

It just show again what a vision or dream with lots of effort and smart plan can achieve, well done!

single mom said...

I too am a single mom and I pay my respects to Kathryn Freeman. What an achievement and sacrifice she has made in getting her education. Given how hard she has worked and all she had to give up in order to get there, the rewards will be all that much sweeter. Well done! You are an inspiration to everyone, not just other single moms.

Periodontist in San Antonio said...

It is always encouraging to see someone pushing forward for a better life through education. The fact that her parents are able to support her by taking care of her son is amazing too. Very inspiring. Well done!

Jon Guildford said...

What a wonderful example of how hard work can make your dreams come true.
I hope other people use her as an inspiration for what can be archived even if your circumstances are not ideal.

Tina Frensham said...

I love this example of believe and determination you should be so proud of what you have achieved.
Well done!! It shows to us all what is possible and what we can all do if we put our minds to it x

sportsbook said...

Congratulations on your success! College can be such a pain, but stories like yours make it worth it. Positive energy!

school grants said...

wow - what an inspirational story. Respect! It is so encouraging to see people who rise above adversity to achieve their goals.

Miami Dentist said...

Congratulations, Kathryn!

Dentist Colchester said...

Kathryn you are an inspiration to us all. As a dentist myself I wish you every success in the profession - You deserve to succeed.

Shine said...

Your story will encourage others...that they too can get education in spite of all the obstacles. Thanks for sharing your story.

Dentist Colchester said...

Great story Kathryn, keep looking ahead and I hope all your dreams come true.

Dental Implants said...

All the best as you pursue education as a dental hygienist. Hope you get the dog for your kids too!

Best Homeowners Insurance Rates said...

It's sad that post secondary education has become such a financial burden.

gaming from peakgenius.com said...

Supposedly wages aren't keeping up with inflation. I'm scared that I won't be able to pay off school debts.

Brian said...

wow incredible. Keep it up!

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The Dental Implant Center of Las Vegas said...

Your story is truly inspiring!
The entire staff of The Dental Implant Center of Las Vegas wishes you the best of luck!

Dentist Chelmsford said...

Wonderful story Kathryn.
We all here wish you every success after your dental hygiene program. Your kids should be proud of their mom!

LightScribe Software said...

I'm really impressed by your dedication Kathryn. It is so hard sometimes to follow through on our dreams but you are an inspiration to us all. Well done.

Cholesterol HDL Ratio said...

I must say I'm inspired by this post. It is people like Kathryn that this world needs in such days.
Her kids surely have a bright future ahead!

dental hygienist salary said...

I am also taking dental hygiene and I would like to thank you for motivating me. I struggle sometimes at school especially if I am having a bad day. I do commute about an hour just to get to school so that made me laze (sometimes). However, your hard work motivates people like me. Thanks

Phobia Freedom said...

As somebody that works with people who have a phobia about attending a dental practice I recognise your dedication Kathryn and wish you well...

Tom said...

Good things come to people who are not afraid of hard work. I impressed by the motivation needed to head back to school all the while taking care of children at home. That takes some good time management and dedication. Good luck with all to come!

Dreams said...

Nice post. I learn something new and challenging everyday.
It will always be interesting to read through articles from other writers.