The ninth graduating class of the 2+2 Elementary Education Program walked across the stage at Tennessee Technological University on Saturday, May 10.
Thanks to a partnership between Motlow College and Tennessee Tech, area students of all ages can earn a four-year teaching degree from Tennessee Tech without having to travel to Cookeville.
In the 2+2 program, students complete an associate of science degree at Motlow College and then transition into the Tennessee Tech program. Students complete their junior and senior years through Tennessee Tech without leaving Motlow in McMinnville.
Successful students earn a bachelor’s degree and licensure in elementary education from kindergarten through sixth grade.
A total of 15 students are receiving their diplomas this year after taking their 2+2 classes at the McMinnville Motlow campus. The classes are taught by Tennessee Tech professors Dr. Nancy Kolodziej and Jennifer Meadows.
Angel Gennings is grateful the 2+2 program was available for her. “I am very appreciative my children get to see what it is to go through this so they know how important it is as they grow up and choose the right path to take,” said Gennings.
Tiffany Cowart finished the program and is expecting her first child. She said, “It has been a rough four years. I am excited to graduate. And, I am actually the first person in my family to even go to college, much less graduate.”
Janie Robbins, associate director for Tennessee Tech’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education, said that is one reason the 2+2 program is so important.
“Many of us are first-generation college students. I am. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad worked in a factory. It takes a little bit more gumption maybe to get out there sometimes when you are first generation than if you had generations before you who were college educated,” said Robbins.
Jessica Antoniak said, “I want to walk the line so my husband and three boys see me. They see the accomplishment and that I worked hard for it. It took a lot from all of us as a family for me to get to this point. I want them to make the right choice when they get out of school to keep going instead of trying to raise a family and go to school.”
Hailey Jones could be considered a traditional student. She said, “I am the first person in my family to go to college as well. So, I am really happy. I’m glad I got to stay at home all four years and not have to pay bills and move off.”
Jody Arnold will be graduating the same day as her stepdaughter, who will finish the 2+2 program at Chattanooga State. “I worked in a factory for 11 years before I came to school here. I am the first to go to college in my family as well.”
The 2+2 graduating class of 2014 has 15 graduating seniors. They are Justin Adcock, Jessica Antoniak, Jody Arnold, Michael Avey, Tiffany Cowart, Nicollette Freeze, Angel Gennings, Tasia Handy, Maria Holland, Hailey Jones, Margaret Kirby, Heather Lack, Trisha Morris, Jennifer Partin and Sherry Patterson.