70-year-old Grandmother Earns Her Degree

70-year-old Grandmother Earns Her Degree

May 9th, 2017


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70-year-old Grandmother Earns Her Degree
Shirley Fuller, Graduate
Tom Looney, Chair of Wake Tech Board of Trustees
Jessica Holmes, Wake County Commissioner
Yusuf Mahmoud, SGA President
Skylar Romero, Graduate
Gerald and Brett Gibby, Graduates
Wake Tech Hosts Evening Commencement Exercises

Wake Tech Hosts Evening Commencement Exercises

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 8, 2017) ­- A huge cheering section erupted when Shirley Fuller crossed the stage this evening at Wake Tech’s Spring 2017 Commencement Exercises. The 70-year-old grandmother received an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Business Administration, as 17 family members looked on. Fuller was among 813 graduates who took part in the ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center. 

As Wake Tech’s enrollment grows, so does the number of graduates each year. This semester, more than 1,700 students received degrees and diplomas – the most ever! Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes encouraged the graduates to “make the impossible, possible” and told them, “It’s not about what you’ve done; it’s about who you are and what you’re going to do!” 

“Wake Tech changes lives,” said Tom Looney, Chair of the Wake Tech Board of Trustees and retired Lenovo VP. He told graduates to “continue to be part of Wake Tech and help to change other people’s lives.” 

Graduates include more than 700 students planning to transfer to four-year institutions, and about 850 who graduated in Career Programs with plans to enter the workforce immediately. Ninety percent of students who graduate from Wake Tech with an AAS degree are employed within 90 days. 

Among the graduates:

  • Two sisters graduated together: April Cobb received an AAS degree in Business Administration. Her sister, Shonveal Cobb, received an AAS degree in Office Administration. The women, who are in their 30s, plan to open a real estate business together.
  • Father and son graduates Gerald Gibby, 56, and Brett Gibby, 30, received AAS degrees in Welding Technology. BOTH got jobs at the same steel plant in Virginia!
  • 72 veterans graduated.
  • Engineering graduates Oscar Molina and Richard Trevorrow are two of ten Goodnight Transfer Scholars at NCSU. 
  • Fostering Bright Futures student Dyshon Stokely received an AAS degree in Business.
  • CCP student Skylar Romero, was the first homeschooled student to complete an Associate in Art degree while in high school.
  • 68 Wake Early College of Health and Sciences students earned associate degrees, 15 earned the Nurse Aide certificate, and five earned a Phlebotomy certificate.
  • A 2016 graduate of Vernon Malone College and Career Academy earned a cosmetology diploma. Essence Ellis plans to sit for her cosmetology license this summer and study Business Administration at NC A&T in the fall.

Student Government Association President Yusuf Mahmoud told his peers to remember, “All of us together are better than each of us alone!” Mahmoud earned his Associate in Arts degree and plans to transfer to NC State University to pursue a degree in business and public policy. 

Why did Shirley Fuller decide to go to college at this point in her life? “I didn’t want to sit at home. It was boring!” she said. “Now that my grandkids are getting their degrees, Grandma Shirley is too!” And “Grandma Shirley” isn’t finished with her education! She plans to return to Wake Tech to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. 

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