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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, May 13, 2019 5 months ago

Mom, son graduate together

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Mother accomplished long-sought goal.
by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Katie Gabriel believes in lifelong learning. She did a lot of learning over the past couple of years, plus accomplished a goal she’s had since the 1980s: completing her college degree. As a plus, she graduated along with her son, Matt, on May 13 from Daytona State College.

Matt, 20, earned an associate’s degree with a focus on music, while mom, 48, got her associate’s degree in general studies. Matt attended classes on campus while his mother did all of her work online, at night after coming home from her fulltime job at AdventHealth.

When she started at DSU in 2017, she was nervous because it had been so long since she went to Hunter College in New York in the 1980s. Also, she had never taken classes online. The first time she hit the start button on the computer to begin a test was tense, she said,

But, getting a degree was something she always wanted to accomplish, because she came so close in the 1980s. Her education was interrupted by marriage and then raising a family.

“I knew if I didn’t do it, I’d kick myself. And at my age it’s getting harder to kick myself,” she said with a laugh.

She only had to take a couple of classes each semester, because her previous credits were applied. But this kept her busy along with her job, so the family helped out at home. Her husband pitched in with cooking, she said.

She was curious about how taking a speech class would work over a computer, but it was fine, she said. Two of her speeches were made over Skype and two others were recorded with an audience.

She enjoyed working with teachers and classmates, communicating on discussion boards.

In addition to reaching a goal, the college studies were a beneficial way to spend time and kept her mind active, she said. She took a class of Florida literature and learned a lot about the state.

Her son will work as a camp counselor this summer and then likely pursue a four-year degree starting in the fall. She looks back on her education as time well spent.

“It gives you a goal,” she said. “And you’re not staring at TV or your phone at night after work.”

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