NEWARK, Ohio, May 4, 2016 – For Denise Thompson, this weekend is a big one. As the mother of 10 children ages eight to 30, Mother's Day is big every year. However, this year she is also celebrating her college graduation. Thompson is walking across the stage at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) on Friday evening (May 6) to mark the completion of her associate's degree in nursing.
"I've been in school for three years, and it's been hard with 10 kids," Thompson chuckled. "I was lucky because my older children could help with the younger ones. My husband and neighbors also pitched in. But, sometimes I felt guilty because I couldn't do everything and be everywhere."
Thompson and her husband got married in 1983, after she had completed one year of nursing school. They started having children in 1985. Thompson always wanted a big family, and every couple of years, another baby was born. So, getting back into school wasn't really a priority at that time.
"I am very proud to have completed my degree now," said Thompson. "I'm so excited for all my children and husband to see me graduate. It is very important to me to have them there. I want them to see that you need to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams."
Thompson was able to balance school, taking care of her family and paying the bills with the help of the COTC Board of Trustees Scholarship. She is very thankful for the opportunity the scholarship gave her to go back to school and get her degree.
"I really appreciate the scholarship," said Thompson. "We have family expenses and bills at home, and it is challenging to afford school when you are taking care of children."
Thompson may be the only mother of 10 to graduate from COTC this spring, but she is not the only mother. Many participating in the commencement ceremony will be celebrating their graduation along with Mother's Day this weekend; about 35 percent of the students who applied for financial aid at COTC this academic year were women with at least one child.
Thompson's future plans include completing her bachelor's degree, but for now she is going to enjoy her summer with her children. The Thompsons are going on their first family vacation with all 10 children at the end of May.
"It will be fun. I'm looking forward to it," said Thompson. "I'm going to enjoy my graduation ceremony and then celebrate with my family."
Central Ohio Technical College is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.