We first met Sherry Stratton in 2014, when we interviewed her for our ongoing SNF Scholarship Series. Sherry is a Food Service Account Specialist for Warren County Public Schools, where she has worked for more than thirteen years, balancing the financials for the school nutrition program. Sherry applied for and was awarded an Annual Fund scholarship in 2015, and with graduation on the horizon she’s already looking forward to going back to school again.
“I’m going to finish my associate’s degree in the spring, with one more class to take,” said Stratton by phone, from her office in Kentucky. “I’m in the process of trying to decide which route I’m taking next. I can go to Western Kentucky University, with an organizational leadership degree that is really tailored to what you want, but I’m also looking online at Western Governor’s University which is tailored for the adult learner—it’s accelerated, and I can graduate faster.”
Having applied for and been awarded several SNF scholarships over the years, Sherry says that the financial help was crucial to her ability to pursue her degree.
“By the time I get the books and pay tuition, you’re talking $500 per class—or more,” she explained. “Knowing that scholarship money was there, available strictly for the classes, it’s a relief. Without taking anything away from my family, I can attain this goal.”
There are a lot of sacrifices to make when you’re working full-time and going to school, says Sherry; not just financially, but time and attention you could otherwise spend on family must now be shared on schoolwork. The effort is well worth it if you are achieving a personal dream.
“I can’t even imagine doing this with younger kids! I waited until my child was out of the house before I knuckled down completely. I wanted to show him—he’s in college, too—that [college] is something you need. I always say, ‘Get your degree, just find something you will enjoy doing and move forward.’ Keep taking classes, even if it takes a while—just get it done! I’ve been working on mine for what, twenty-seven years? I’m what you call a long-term student!”
Sherry has between two and five more years of school ahead, depending on which program and institution she decides to attend. She plans to apply for more SNF scholarships as she continues her journey toward a four-year degree, and had one final thought to share:
“I think I speak for all of the scholarship recipients when I say that we really appreciate the financial support. I enjoy taking classes, and the scholarships mean [this degree] is something I can really achieve. Just—thank you, very much. It means a lot.”
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