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Rashiadah Weaver 
  The memory of her mother doing homework at the kitchen table even though she was ill with terminal cancer has been a constant motivation to Rashiadah Weaver. Weaver’s mother was a student at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) and she died when Weaver was 14.

“Our home was filled with positive ideas about arts and education,” said Weaver. “We did not watch television. We went to the library and read to each other and talked about books.”  
Although she was a good student in high school, the emotional toll of losing her mother led Weaver to drop out. However, she worked through that traumatic loss and earned her GED through North High School in Akron.

Years later, as the mother of six children, Weaver realized her life was not improving. Wanting to leave a better example and legacy for her children, Weaver remembered all her mom did and wanted to follow that example. Her mother had given her a name that in Arabic means “one who walks like a warrior” and she was determined to live up to that name.

“I used to read my mom’s school books when she was at Tri-C,” said Weaver. “I loved the psychology texts and felt drawn to that area of study.” She enrolled at the Cleveland Institute of Medical Massage in 2009 and earned her certificate and state license in 2011.

Weaver worked often with children who were victims of abuse, introducing a “healing touch” as part of their therapy. Weaver’s way with children was welcomed and successful. Adults also responded well to Weaver’s healing touch, dispelling negative stereotypes about massage. “Some people never thought they could be touched therapeutically other than by a physician,” she said.

Still not satisfied with her educational background and with her mom still in mind, Weaver began classes at Tri-C in 2011. Weaver found that her teachers were challenging as well as affirming. Soon Weaver was going to class full time and joining everything. A member of the Honors program, Weaver also was involved with the Trio program and became a Metropolitan Campus fixture with the Bridge program, helping other students negotiate their way through Tri-C.

Weaver, who will graduate in May with two associate degrees – in arts and science, has been accepted at Cleveland State, John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace universities. She is also waiting to hear from Case Western Reserve University. Weaver’s ultimate goal is to gain an M.D.-Ph.D. in neuropsychology with a focus in art therapy and complementary alternative medicine.

In spare moments, Weaver teaches and performs West African dancing and drumming as a form of exercise and artistic expression.

When asked about Tri-C, Weaver smiled. “Tri-C meant a great deal to my mother and now to me,” she said. “Tri-C is a place where futures begin, and begin again, and it is still so much more than that. I am thankful for what it has meant for me.”

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