Editorial and Production Coordinator
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By Kysa Anderson Daniels
Photos by Bill Roa
CLARKSTON, Ga.—When Erica McGuire graduates from Georgia State University next week, she will be following a family tradition. McGuire, who studied criminal justice online, will receive her associate degree from Perimeter College and join her mom and two sisters as Georgia State alumni.
“I am the fourth to graduate from Georgia State University with a degree which is actually pretty cool,” McGuire said. “Maybe my daughter will pursue this university, as well.”
McGuire is among approximately 700 candidates scheduled to graduate from Perimeter this fall. About 270 of them will participate in an in-person commencement ceremony set for Friday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. at Parc Center Stadium. Graduates will earn their associate degrees in pathways ranging from business administration to health professions and engineering.
“Nothing’s more exciting than graduation season and getting to personally congratulate our latest class of graduates,” said Dr. Nancy Kropf, Perimeter College dean. “I feel incredibly privileged to witness the resiliency that these graduates have demonstrated, especially over the past two years with the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. But they have persisted and soon will turn the tassel on their graduation caps.”
Getting to the graduation finish line proved especially tough for McGuire. As a single mom to nine-year-old Keaton Rae, she admits it was sometimes tough focusing on both studying and parenting, especially while taking honors classes. When the pandemic shut down her daughter’s school last year, she found it especially challenging.
“Homeschooling her and going full time online myself was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done,” the McGuire recalled. “We just took it day by day — and, yes, there were tears.”
Next week, there may be more tears. But these will be different.
“Honestly, I’m just incredibly proud of myself,” said McGuire, who’ll graduate with honors.
“Staying on track with my classes throughout the obstacles we were all handed is an amazing accomplishment.”
McGuire plans to transition to Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus where she’ll continue studying criminal justice and get her bachelor’s degree.
Perimeter College’s graduation rate has more than tripled over the past five years, while also eliminating equity gaps based on a students’ race, ethnicity and income levels.