Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Fifteen years later, White had become a stay-at-home mom with three children, including a daughter with autism.
“Having a child who isn’t developing ‘normally’ made me more aware of development in general,” she said. “I wanted more knowledge — and I was the first person in my family that didn’t finish college. It was time for me to redeem myself.”
White lives in Orcas Island, Wash., so she chose the convenience of WSU’s online degree program. “It has been amazing,” she said. “I have made some great connections with quality professors.” More... White is majoring in human development, and teaches preschool at Orcas Island Children’s House.
This time around, White has a 3.95 GPA. At age 37, she was recently named the Outstanding Distance Degree Senior at the human development program of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.
“Tess has highly valued the opportunity to complete her degree by distance, while still focusing on her other important roles,” wrote nominator Mary R. Wandschneider, a senior instructor and director of the internship program at the Department of Human Development. “She is a delightful and talented young woman.”
White graduates in December. She plans to earn a master’s in early childhood education.
“Getting my degree at a distance has been so important for me,” she said. “I think I have some great insights as an online student, and could be a good online professor.”
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
On a rainy Friday, Kerry Clark rode his bike to the Donut Parade in north Spokane. He rarely drives. Too expensive.
Clark has four roommates. He survives on financial aid and military benefits. The financial aid is through Washington State University, where he’s an online student.
"I view studying as a job,” he said. “Just like any job, I want to do well at it.” Clark couldn’t do any better. He has a 4.0 grade point average and made the president’s honor roll.
The military benefits came after his mother, a Navy reservist, was killed in 2005 near Fallujah, Iraq.
Petty Officer 1st Class Regina Clark of Centralia was a mess hall cook in her first two deployments. In her third, she did checkpoint searches. A suicide bomber attacked her convoy. Regina Clark, a single mom, was the first Washington state woman killed in the Iraq war. Her son was 18.
“The day I no longer had a parental guardian was the day I really started paying attention,” said Clark, 25. “I had to be responsible for absolutely everything in my own life. That makes you aware of how to win – and how to lose.” More... One way to lose is to be stuck in an unchallenging job. When Clark worked at a lumber mill, he said, “I felt restricted, like any abilities I might have couldn’t come to the forefront because I didn’t have the necessary education.”
Clark earned his associate’s degree at Centralia College, moved to Spokane with a couple friends, and enrolled in WSU Online.
“People assume online courses are more work,” he said. “For me, it’s more work to have to wake up at 8 a.m. every day to get to class than to roll out of bed and start doing schoolwork.”
Clark is majoring in humanities with a minor in history. He expects to graduate in December, then earn a graduate degree in history.
“When I see Ph.D.’s now, I think they’re a hundred times smarter than I am. But they had to get there somehow,” he said. “I won’t stop studying until someone gives me an F – and that isn’t going to happen.”
Clark is also motivated by the people of Centralia. At Fuller’s Market, where his mother used to work, employees still wear buttons with her photo.
"They seem to miss her as much as I do,” he said. “You can see the difference she made. Hopefully I can do something like that in my own life.”
By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online
Monday, May 9, 2011
Article by Kelsey Husky/Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Things come naturally to 16-year-old Kayla Heard.
"It's a God-given gift," she said. "Ever since I can remember, it's been this way."
Heard is the youngest student on record to graduate from Washington State University. She's walking in commencement today with a degree in history and political science.
She completed her degree as a distance learner in Union, Wash., and was homeschooled before that.
What sets her apart is that she could talk by her first birthday and was reading at 18 months. She started first grade at age 3, graduated from high school at 10 and began community college at 11.
What makes her normal is that she hangs out with friends, plays computer games, modifies her computer and enjoys sci-fi TV shows.
The teenager has caught the attention of many - for the last week, she's been talking to various media outlets about her accomplishments, including Seattle TV stations KING5 and KIRO.
She said the interviews were scary the first few times, but now, she's used to it. To her, it's just like a normal conversation now.
However, the public hasn't been the most friendly.
Heard said she's had mixed responses to her story. Some come up to her on the street and say she's inspiring.
"If people do think that this is extraordinary, they want to pay attention to me and put me in the limelight, I'm fine with that," she said, but she doesn't crave attention.
Others criticize. She said there's no reason to let it affect her personally, though.
"We're just going with the flow with this," she said.
Criticism includes the idea that she's missing out on certain freedoms, such as hanging out at the mall. But she has a different take on what freedom means.
More... Heard said teenage-years freedom can't be compared to the freedom you have as an adult in the working world, and the only way to have that freedom is to work hard now.
Instant gratification isn't as fun as long-term fun as an adult, she said.
She advises younger generations to be responsible now and "focus on getting good grades and creating stable bases for their lives now."
Others criticize her homeschooling - people are saying she's confined to her room.
In actuality, she's traveled to Asia multiple times and across the United States.
Homeschooling has given her the opportunity to see more of the world and experience more, she said.
The lack of peer pressure she's had has allowed her to create a venue for self-expression and individuality, she said.
The personable, fashionable teen plays the guitar and piano and sings.
She said most would be surprised to know she loves rock music, such as Linkin Park and Green Day, as well as Christian music like Skillet.
Heard describes herself as logistic and opinionated, which she said works well with her political science studies.
"It gives me a chance to learn more about societal issues," she said. She enjoys studying legislation and society on a deeper level.
Heard plans to take distance courses for law school and earn a master's degree in the future as well.
Until then, she'll continue to sing with her church's worship team. She'll hike and fish, as well as create digital art and photography.
Her friends will treat her like an ordinary person, just as they always have.
Reprinted with the permission of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News