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To CJ Summerville, a father of 2, the most important aspect of parenting is to set a good example. “I’m really, really conscientious of making the statement ‘Don’t just preach it to teach it,’’ he explains. “If I tell my kids this and that, but they watch me do something different, then my words are hollow.”
CJ spent 16 years at a large tech company where he led a successful career, but he couldn’t quite shake his disappointment over never having completed his college degree. After a string of layoffs, CJ was let go and left contemplating his next step.
Reflecting on the values he hoped to instill in his two boys, CJ re-enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas. “I started looking to go back to school,” CJ recalls. “I found the Single Parent Scholarship. And it was the only one I was actually eligible for.”
CJ’s educational journey was not free of sacrifices or obstacles. “In order to juggle all the different responsibilities – school and work and raising children – mentally, it’s really tough sometimes. There’s a lot going on.”
“When I found out I was going to receive the scholarship, I was relieved – very relieved,” he remembers. “There were times for my family that that scholarship bought groceries or bought gas so I could get to work. We’ve lived very much – for the last 3 years – week to week.”
But hard work pays off! CJ graduated in December with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Logistics and Transportation. He’s thriving in his new career field and is looking forward to working his way up with his new degree in hand.
He’s proud of his accomplishment and the example he has set for his two sons. "Getting my education has allowed me – in the little ways that we can as parents – to tip the balance in their favor."
At ASPSF, we provide financial assistance and personal support to single-parent students across the state. Are you ready to show your children the power of education like CJ has?
We can help! To learn more about single parent scholarships, click here.