A Degree of Determination for Tri-C Student
December 10, 2015
The responsibilities of family life pulled Michael Weatherspoon away from Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®). Determination brought him back to earn a degree.
An educational journey that included a three-year hiatus culminates for Weatherspoon at Tri-C’s Fall Commencement. The 37-year-old Cleveland resident will be among 1,500 graduating students receiving degrees and certificates.
Weatherspoon never doubted he’d eventually hear his name called at the ceremony: “I always knew I’d get my degree,” he said.
Even when the moment seemed very, very far away.
Weatherspoon grew up on Cleveland’s East Side in a neighborhood besieged by gangs, bullets and drugs. Trouble resided on those city streets, and it pursued Weatherspoon during his teen years.
He committed himself to rising above the fray and turned to education to find a better life. Weatherspoon earned his high school equivalency diploma in 2009 and enrolled at Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland.
His plans, however, quickly met obstacles. He took time off from classes in 2010 to care for his grandmother after her husband died. He also had a fiancée and her five children to look after.
The pages on the calendar flipped by as he got married, tended to family needs and worked.
Throughout the time, though, he kept in contact with two of the first people he met at Tri-C — Henry Young, an associate professor in speech, and James Gardner, a student success specialist.
“I would call every four or five months and tell them, ‘Don’t forget about me. I will be back,’” Weatherspoon said.
Weatherspoon returned to Tri-C in 2013 with a renewed sense of purpose. He focused on his studies, became more involved on campus and stepped into a role as student ambassador at Metro.
His actions have come with one goal in mind — serving others.
“I know there are people out there who need help,” said Weatherspoon, who also is a church deacon. “I want to position myself academically to be able to make a difference.”
After graduating from Tri-C, Weatherspoon intends to transfer to Cleveland State University for spring semester to begin work on a bachelor’s degree in communication management. He worked with the Transfer Connection Center at Metro Campus to ensure a smooth transition.
He eventually wants to earn a master’s degree and doctorate and return to Tri-C to teach and mentor students.
“This is where I belong,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s my purpose, and it’s my destiny.”