This online graduate gets an ‘A’ for perseverance

October 16, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

Chanel Mack is one of those people who strives to get it right every time. Nothing halfway for her. No sir.

When the New Orleans resident makes gumbo for a church event, it has to be gumbo she would love to eat. When she picks out a present, it has to be something she would delight in having. She wants to be the best she can be.

Chanel Mack

“My friends call me a perfectionist,” she said. “Anything in my name has to be done right because it represents me.”

But this is where the story turns from going the extra mile to going the extra 100 miles – uphill all the way, carrying a heavy load and never taking a break.

As Mack sat at Grand Canyon University commencement Saturday morning, reminiscing on 4½ years of work toward her bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies, she also looked back on five surgeries, including a double mastectomy, and a battle with breast cancer.

And yet she never dropped a class. Not once.

“I had a whole lot of people telling me I should take a break,” she said, “but I said no.”

That kind of determination takes a lot of planning. Whenever Mack had a surgery scheduled, she would do her classwork beforehand, then turn it in after she came out of the operating room. If necessary, she would stay up until all hours of the night to finish her assignments.

It all was part of being an excellent example for her two daughters, Jazmyne and Jada. She expects them to be just as dedicated.

“If I tell them do it,” Chanel said, “then I need to do the same thing.”

They’re heeding her lead. Both attended college on academic scholarships. Jazmyne gave birth during the first week of her master’s program at GCU and just kept going. Jada is on course to graduate with honors this spring from Xavier University.

Mack showed she can make the grades, too. She graduated summa cum laude and wants to work in ministry, preferably as a counselor.

Yes, everything she does must represent her well. But there’s a higher power she represents, too.

“I just think everything should be done with excellence,” she said. “I tell that to people at church, too – if you’re doing it in God’s name, it must be done with excellence.”

He doesn’t do things halfway, either.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or



About the Author
Leave a Comment