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NCCU Graduate Beats Odds To Earn Nursing Degree

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DURHAM, N.C. — Getting through four years of school is tough for anyone, but imagine doing it while on welfare and raising five children by yourself. One woman did just that and earned her nursing degree.

As a single mother of five, Sharon Wright is used to being a plain old mother, but now she has a new title -- college graduate.

"I don't think there are words that can describe it other than awesome," she said.

It has been a long road for Wright. Just a few years ago, her future did not look so bright.

"I worked at Hardee's in Yanceyville making biscuits at 4:30 in the morning," she said.

Wright said she had been in an abusive relationship. After leaving her husband, she landed on welfare.

"I would look at my kids and they needed things on the 15th and I had 15 more days to go," she said.

That experience made Wright determined to get a degree. She enrolled at North Carolina Central University in a program that allowed her to become a commissioned officer with the U.S Public Health Corps while being a full-time student.

Wright said the move improved both her self-esteem and her children's self-esteem.

"Their grades have improved. I had one son who was labeled as having a learning disability. His grades have turned around so much that he's academically gifted now," she said.

However, Wright is not through learning. She hopes to get her Master's degree one day, but she has some words of advice.

"Whatever the situation, you can make it. I think I've come from the worst of the worst and I made it," she said.

Wright, who received her degree Saturday, will be stationed as a nurse at Fort Devins in Massachusetts.