By Thea Skinner
Triplicate staff writer
With heads held high, graduates of College of the Redwoods, Del Norte, walked toward their futures at a commencement ceremony Friday.
Kathleen Moxon, director of the Redwood Coast Rural Action organization and keynote speaker urged the graduates to embrace simplicity in their lives.
"Be the generation that makes storage units obsolete," she said.
"The thinking that got us where we are today is not the thinking for tomorrow," she said, urging the Class of 2007 to be a part of the solution.
College of the Redwoods, Del Norte Campus' graduating spring Class of 2007's career pathways are already contributing to the community.
Several graduates are cultivating their love for education in their children.
Vickie Baldwin is a non-traditional student. She and her 20-year-old daughter, Stefanie, attended College of the Redwoods at the same time.
"We had three classes together in the fall and we would sit side by side. The teachers would say that we are sisters," Baldwin said.
The mother-daughter students had a competition between them for who would graduate first.
"We studied together," Baldwin said. "She supported me and I supported her."
The 40-something mother began her college career in 1980 and started part-time studies at College of the Redwoods in 2003. She worked full-time throughout her college career.
"I have to work and support my family my husband is disabled. The opportunity to go to college came up when the kids were older," Baldwin said.
She and her family moved to Crescent City in July 2001 to be with her mother-in-law.
Baldwin will now transfer to Humboldt State University to major in psychology. She will commute to the university, possibly with friends, twice a week.
Baldwin said she has grown attached to friends and staff at College of the Redwoods, but is eager about her future education.
"When you get into knowing all the staff and people it is like leaving high school again and cutting the strings."
Baldwin points to Ken Letko's English Critical Thinking course at College of the Redwoods for making a difference in her education.
"He made the class fun and exciting. He made me want to research. I had to redo my report several times and that made me successful to have a teacher stand behind me," she said.
Baldwin struggled in English courses in high school, and assisted in Journalism, which counted for English at the time.
"Nowadays they (educators) do not do that. I never learned the proper pronouns and having learned it later in life now I get it," Baldwin said.
She may minor in communication, and is thrilled to research either environmental, cognitive or mental health.
"I want to work for a corporation in human resources. I want to work with company policies for employee rights as a human resource manager or district manger," she said.
She explained that the advisors at Humboldt, leaders in orientation, have many study areas in psychology.
Baldwin will take a Perspective of Psychology course at Humboldt State University, in which all university psychology professors attend to help students find what field they want to go into.
She will also take psychology statistics and organizational skills courses at Humboldt State University. She aspires to complete an internship at Del Norte County Mental Health.
"I am excited. I spoke with a psychologist in an interview for a job at mental health as a medical clerk," she said.
Baldwin had her second interview the day of her graduation commencement.
"I am ambitious and I set goals. It is important for me to set them and reach them. I show my kids that I am not a quitter," she said.
With a family of 10 children, being a role model is important to her. "I want my kids to study and do their homework," she said.
A child's inspiration
Twenty-eight year old Tory McNab is another aspiring graduate. She is a single mother, who wanted to have more opportunities for herself, so she began taking basic courses.
She came to Crescent City with her parents while in 5th grade. She later left and came back to be grounded while raising her 5-year-old son.
"I think my son has a lot of respect for me. I will bring him to college classes with me later on. It will help him in his homework," she said.
"We sit down and do our homework together," McNab said. "He said it is neat that I still have homework."
She even took her son with her to appointments with College of the Redwoods counselors.
"Hopefully when he gets older he will be impressed to go on for education," McNab said.
She received several certifications and an associate of science degree in general studies as a business major.
McNab plans to earn a bachelor's degree at a later time. Her focus is on employment opportunities at Pelican Bay State Prison.
"It requires a lot of energy to work in the prison industry authority," she said.
She wants to obtain a bachelor's involving accounting and business. While at College of the Redwoods she made strides in mathematics.
"I thought I was bad at math. There was so much dedication and help that I got almost all A's and I was really proud of myself," McNab said.
With a 3.7 GPA she is on the college's honor list. She is also part of the dean's and president's lists.
McNab has also been the college's Pi Beta Kappa president for two years.