The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

May 12, 2013

Mother, son share graduation celebration

HOME GARDENS — This time of year it is common for families to celebrate a loved one’s graduation from high school or college.

One Home Gardens family will celebrate the educational achievement of not one, but two of its members: a mother and son who will participate Friday in Danville Area Community College’s commencement ceremony. They are among 430 who will graduate that day from DACC.

“In our whole family, we’re the only two to have graduated from college,” 46-year-old Tina Pierce said. “We probably will have a party, but we haven’t been planning.”

Pierce and her son, Ken Smoot, 25, admit the road to attaining a higher education has been long … and not without some detours along the way.

This was particularly true for Pierce, who has attempted to earn a college education a number of times in the last two decades.

Pierce, who graduated from Westville High School in 1985, had good intentions when she enrolled at DACC in 1986 but ended up dropping out when she gave birth to her son a couple of years later. She eventually returned to school to earn two certificates in word processing and to be an office assistant in 1989.

However, in today’s world of ever-changing technology, Pierce realized her 1980s office skills were considered antiquated. And even though she had been working in retail “just to pay the bills,” she longed for a professional career.

Pierce started to think about going back to school to learn a new skill set and pursue a different career, and that time came in 2007, after her son graduated from her alma mater, Westville High School.

“I went back to school after he graduated high school, but just in 21 years things had evolved,” she said. “He had to help me in math.”

After nine semesters and two attempts, Pierce admitted she couldn’t pass DACC’s rigorous nursing program.

Undeterred, Pierce pondered what she could do to make the best of the situation.

“I thought, ‘What can I do with all these credits I have?’” she said. “I knew an associate’s degree would open a lot of doors.”

Pierce ended up pursuing an associate’s degree in general studies and a certificate to be a medical office assistant.

After one semester at DACC following his graduation from Westville High School, Smoot worked at McLane’s for four years. When an injury sidelined him from his work at McLane’s, he learned through the unemployment office that the Job Training Partnership (JTP) would cover part of his tuition if he returned to school.

In spring 2011, Smoot chose to study computer programming at DACC.

“I wanted to make the computer do something,” he said.

Completing an internship was a graduation requirement for Smoot and landing a paid internship at NEXLAN was even more of a bonus.

Smoot, however, said he doesn’t regret his time at McLane’s.

“I felt like I had grown up while I was at McLane’s,” he said.

“But it’s been a weird transition from McLane’s to college life to business life,” he added. “It’s been an adventure going back to school.”

“For me, too,” Pierce concurred.

Pierce and her son have a close bond, so the two claim there were never any embarrassing “mom” moments on campus for Smoot. They shared a couple of the same instructors — Glenda Boling and Paulette Eaton — but were never in the same class at the same time.

The duo also had to share the same vehicle, so Pierce said, “I would take him to class,” but that didn’t bother Smoot in the least.

“We met once in a while for lunch at the student union,” Pierce said, trying to think of the times when their paths would cross on campus.

In fact, the mother and son see more of each other at the home they share in Home Gardens along with Smoot’s fiancé, Kala; Kala’s father; and Pierce’s boyfriend.

Although Pierce finished her studies at DACC in December, she is going to walk across the stage with her son during commencement ceremonies on Friday. Smoot will receive an associate’s degree in application development.

“It’s a milestone,” she said. “It’s my privilege to walk the stage.”

Smoot pointed out that his mother will receive her degree before he does.

“I’m jealous your name comes before me,” he joked.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DHA celebrates 75 years; contract under review DANVILLE — As the Danville Housing Authority celebrates 75 years this year, it’s also undergoing some transition with new board members.July 20 marked 75 years for the housing authority. DHA officials are talking about having a recognition event.The

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as battle rages GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to end fighting that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.But ne

    July 24, 2014

  • Jet victims' bodies arrive EINDHOVEN, Netherlands — Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine’s restive east as fight

    July 24, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Tuesday, 9:23-9:33 p.m. — A medical call in the 200 block of Grace Street.Tuesday, 10:41-10:50 p.m. — A medical call in the 600 block of Pixley Street.Wednesday, 12:30-12:45 a.m. — A medical call in the 3

    July 24, 2014

  • Malachi Hatcher.jpg Murder charges coming soon DANVILLE — A man arrested on shooting charges at the end of June now will face murder charges stemming from the incident.Seventeen-year-old Malachi D. Hatcher was arrested on June 24 on a warrant charging him in connection with the June shooting of t

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jobs board sees numerous openings DANVILLE — Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen can’t remember a time when the local job openings board had so many open positions.It reached 68 job opening postings, some representing multiple job opportunities totaling more than the 6

    July 24, 2014

  • Fair Oaks7.jpg A full, balanced meal The line of children forms early in the day in front of the community building at Danville Housing Authority’s Fair Oaks public housing complex.The children, ranging in age from 1 to 18, eagerly wait for the nutritious lunch they will be served as pa

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walldogs artists come to Ridge Farm RIDGE FARM — A group of five Walldogs artists, four of whom worked on the Danville Walldogs murals, are making a return visit to the area.This time they will be painting a mural in Ridge Farm.The site is downtown, at Illinois Route 1 and Woodyard, wh

    July 24, 2014

  • Children’s play set for weekend

    July 23, 2014

  • Westville council limits parking on two streets

    Village trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday night to restrict parking on two village streets.

    July 23, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
NDN Video
Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe
Must Read