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Faces of STLCC

Florissant Valley Campus

CCAMPIS Helps Fulfill A Dream

Roberta Gordon

Roberta Gordon recently graduated from St. Louis Community College (STLCC) with an associate degree in communication arts. As a mother and wife, Gordon managed to juggle a hectic schedule while fulfilling a dream.

Having home-schooled her children for four years, she began thinking about what she was going to do with her time when her children decided to go back to school. She had completed one semester at STLCC- Florissant Valley straight out of high school and knew it was a good place to start, especially since she wasn't sure what she was going to major in.

Her best friend, Courtney, was her inspiration. “We're the same age, and when she went back to school one semester before I did, I realized that maybe I'm not too old to do it, either.” They have spent the last few years pushing each other to not give up and reminding each other that college is worth it. “She lives in Atlanta and I live in St. Louis, but it's nice to know that support is just a text away from someone who truly gets what it's like to be an adult learner.”

Gordon said that going to school and setting foot on campus was one of the hardest things she had ever done.  “It was tough to be in a classroom after 15 years, and tougher still to learn to juggle it all. It came together with time, though, and the whole family adapted.”

And if starting school was hard, picking her major was even harder because she was torn between pursuing something in the biological sciences and English. During her second semester at STLCC, she took Intro to Biology, English Comp II, and British Literature. While biology was fun, picking apart literature gave her a sense of pride and satisfaction that she didn't get from lab experiments, so that's the direction she went in.

With five children, two in high school, two in elementary school and a preschooler; there were many times when she had to put everyone to bed and then stay up until the wee hours of the morning to get homework and studying done. “The gentle reminders to stop playing on Facebook and do my homework were met with the same eye rolls they always gave me when I'd say that to them, but sometimes, I needed to hear that, too!”

Her most memorable moment was when she received the English department Student of the Year award in 2012. “It made all the nights of staying up way too late to write papers after all the kids were in bed completely worth it.”

Gordon said that STLCC-Florissant Valley's wide variety of classes and excellent professors helped her figure out what she wanted from a career and how to pursue it.

Gordon utilized the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant, and child care services at Florissant Valley Child Development and Lab Center while attending STLCC. “The CCAMPIS grant allowed my daughter access to an excellent, licensed child care facility that I could not have otherwise afforded on my own,” she said. “Without that, I would not have been able to attend college until she started kindergarten.”

Just knowing that her child care was paid for helped her focus on her studies, because it relieved two major stressors in her life - child care and the means to pay for it.

In her spare time, Gordon is an avid reader, creative writer, cupcake baker and knitter. “I've confused more than one professor by knitting in class during movies,” she said. “They can never decide if that's okay, or just as bad as texting in class!”

Gordon credits STLCC with helping her find her identity as a person that wasn't defined as just being someone's mom. “The professors I worked with took the time to push me to my limits and bring out the best in me, and they always saw me as more than a grade or a number.”

Roberta is pursuing her bachelor's degree at University of Missouri – St. Louis in the fall.

“My associate degree is only one third of the way to my end goal of a Master's in Library and Information Science, but it's a huge milestone along the way,” she said. “The accomplishment of having an associate degree is something that I'll always have, even if life throws curveballs that prevent me from achieving my goals in the timeframe I have set for myself.”

Gordon ultimately wants to be either a reference librarian or a young adult services librarian. “I'd love to come back and work at the library at Florissant Valley. It would be amazing to be able to help students figure out that research is fun if you just find a topic that sparks your curiosity and then explore all the resources an academic library has to offer.”

By: Rachel Gomez