Children inspired stay-at-home mom to get degree

April 27, 2019 / by / 0 Comment
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By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

When most people think of a role model they think of a mentor, in most cases someone older who has helped you grow into the person you are today. But for Chalise Williams, those role models are her children.

The New Jersey mom stayed at home for most of her four children’s lives, but watching them grow up and pursue their careers and degrees helped Williams return to her academics.

“My children have done it before me. They’re my role models,” Williams said. “I raised them to be a strong and be able to overcome any circumstances in their lives. That’s how I raised my children because I didn’t have that growing up.”

Chalise Williams graduated with a degree in behavioral health on Friday morning. (Photo by Ashlee Larrison)

Williams first returned to school to receive her associate’s degree from Essex County College before pursuing a bachelor’s.

Raising children and attending a ground campus for school was out of the question for Williams, leading her to look for an online degree program that would fit with her busy schedule. Eventually, Williams and GCU’s online program would cross paths.

“I looked it up and just called one day out of the blue and talked to my counselor and she encouraged me to go for it and now I’m here,” William’s said.

This week, Williams traveled to Arizona for the first time to participate in Friday morning’s commencement ceremony, and she returned to New Jersey with a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Health.

“It doesn’t feel real yet,” Williams said. “I worked really hard to get here, but I came a long way and I can’t believe it. I’m in shock.”

She also was surprised to see the community that has been built on campus.

“This campus is amazing. It’s beautiful. It feels like a community,” she said.

Williams credits the GCU online experience for her success, specifically a time-management course she was required to take before beginning her classes.

“I had other people do it the same time as I was and I was like, ‘How are you doing this?’ because everything has to be done in a week’s time,” she said. “But GCU prepared me for it.”

She recalls her efforts to always go above and beyond on her assignments to make sure she would keep her 3.95 GPA.

Williams didn’t always have it easy growing up but never let that halt her growth.

“My favorite quote to use is a Bible scripture. It is, ‘I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,’ and that quote has gotten me over difficult times from my childhood to now,” she said. “I had a rough childhood, so for me to be standing here today, it’s nothing but God.”

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or ashlee.larrison@gcu.edu.

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