TULSA, Okla. — Despite an ongoing teacher shortage in Oklahoma, many people are are still pursuing an education degree to make a difference in a child's life.
Among the more than 380 students who walked the line at Tulsa Community College's (TCC) first-ever December commencement, were two unlikely graduates.
A mother and daughter both earned their associate's degree in early childhood development.
"Going to college with your mom is not what you expect," said Chelsea Bailey, who graduated alongside her mother.
For her mom, Crystal Wells, coming back to college wasn't easy.
"There's been a lot of people telling [me] since I'm older it can be a lot more difficult, and it has been," said Wells, adding that having her daughter by her side made it possible.
She said they held each other accountable for school work and kept pushing each other to get through it.
They plan to continue their higher education together by transferring to the University of Oklahoma for their bachelor's degree in early childhood education.
Although the state continues to battle with ongoing budget cuts in public education and low teacher pay, the pair says they're doing it for the love of the field.
"For me, it's not about the money," said Bailey, "It's about just being with kids and spending time with the kids and makes my heart be on fire."
For her mom, it's the same thing. She said she worked in a school district in the past and loved it so much that she wants to teach.
They both completed the degree thanks to the "Bridging the Gap Scholarship" offered at TCC. It's a grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation for students interested in pursuing a certificate or degree in the field of child development.
For information on the scholarship, click here.
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