It’s Never too Late to Finish School:

An Interview with a Professional Eagle

Story and photo by Christian Taylor

May 8, 2015: At Friendship Woodridge Academy, one of our long-time "Professional Eagles" received her degree. It was a long journey along the way, but with nothing but her books by her side, Ms. Denise Graham received her degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a para-professional here at Woodridge working with our PK3 and PK4 classes. I interviewed Ms. Graham inside her classroom where she explained her career as a teacher and experience in education.  

Christian: What inspired you to become a teacher?  
Ms. Graham: Good question. I started as a reading tutor at the Chamberlain campus many years ago, and from there I just liked working with children. Just then I knew that was my calling.

Christian: Were there any obstacles along the way?
Ms. Graham: I started and stopped so many times when it came to getting my degree. It was always something that held me back. I knew that this was something that I really wanted. I continued to push myself, as well as my own children to get what was needed in order to be successful.

Christian: How long have you worked for Friendship?” 
Ms. Graham: Let me pull out my pen and paper, this is 2015, I started at Chamberlain when Friendship was noticed and came about. I started out as a volunteer when my oldest son was in school.

Christian: What did you get your degree in?
Ms. Graham: Early Childhood Education

Christian: What advice would you want to give to someone that wants to go to college?
Ms Graham: Know what you want, and know what you want to do. Study hard, this is very important because it gets harder; but never be a quitter. The main thing is to know what you want to do and persevere no matter what it takes.

Christian: What advice do you have for not giving up?       Ms. Graham: My advice, is to just simply try! You never really

know what is in store at the end of your journey.. In the end, you will know it is the BIG reward that you will receive for life!

Interviewing Ms. Graham has inspired me in so many ways. This experience has made me realize that college is not such a bad thing at all. Ms. Graham explained that getting a good career is very beneficial for many different reasons. I also learned that college doesn’t always have to be in a classroom; it can be online as well.  She is an inspiration because she was determined to finish school regardless of how long it took her. That’s what I call persistence—never giving up and following your dreams. If she can do it, so can anyone else. Despite the challenges she came across, nothing refrained her from getting her degree. Congratulations on your new achievement Ms. Graham! As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we salute all of those individuals who continue to make an impact in the lives of children. Thank you! 

Christian Taylor is an 8th grade scholar at Friendship Woodridge Academy.