Two unlikely students graduating from UK

UK graduation on December 20, 2019. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The University of Kentucky is preparing for the 2021 commencement ceremonies taking place this weekend.

After celebrations took place virtually last year, most students are excited to celebrate in person.

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For some, they’re just ready to finally graduate

“I am incredibly excited. It has been a very long journey,” Poe said.

Brooke Poe has been attending UK for several years, working towards a bachelor’s degree in clinical leadership and management, all while working full time and raising two sons with her husband.

“I fear that without them I wouldn’t have done as well or kept a high enough a GPA or pushed hard enough to finish my degree and to look for higher strides in my career and in my life,” Poe said.

She graduates with a 3.8 GPA.

It wasn’t an easy journey though, soon after giving birth to her youngest son last year, he was right back in the hospital.

“That’s when we found out he had Hydronephrosis and that has continued to play a role in some of his issues but last fall he has surgery and I just, I was a mess,” Poe said.

With the stress of everything, she had to take an incomplete in one of her classes and retake it later on.

She says although it was a difficult experience, she kept pushing forward.

Her advice for other mom’s out there looking to pursue a degree, “Don’t give up. Goodness, there are so many times when you look at this tidal wave of work, and this monstrosity of time, and effort, and the sleepless nights, and you just think you just can’t do it, and you just think that that’s not another thing you can take but oh my goodness you can,” Poe said.

Another unlikely student, one who started school in 2001, is also about to finally graduate from UK this weekend.

Alethea Devary is graduating from the University of Kentucky with a focus on photography. It’s something she’s been working towards for two decades.

She says she had to leave school because of some challenges life threw her way but she pushed through it all and found her way back.

“I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. It’s been a dream of mine to have a bachelor’s for so many years that it almost makes me tear up thinking about it,” Devary said.

She says life happens and it can throw a lot at you, whether it be the loss of a loved one, grief, or a pandemic.

She says you just have to find the positive and try to hang on to that.

Both women plan to continue their education and pursue a master’s degree.