Path to Tri-C Degree Began with Helping Grandchildren do Homework
December 07, 2015
Judi Kostos enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) in 2008 with one mission: to learn enough math to help her grandchildren with their homework.
She never dreamed it would lead to her wearing a cap and gown.
Seven years after taking that first course at Tri-C, the Brook Park grandmother will be among approximately 1,500 graduating students in line for associate degrees and certificates at Tri-C’s Fall Commencement.
“I achieved this one step at a time and one semester at a time,” said Kostos, 57. “I thought I was just taking classes. I never thought I’d get a degree.”
Kostos first turned to Tri-C for a refresher course in math. As her grandchildren’s after-school caretaker, she quickly learned her skills weren’t where they needed to be to help them with their homework.
The step sent a valuable message: “It was a great way for my grandchildren to learn that I may be older than them, but that doesn’t mean I know everything,” Kostos said.
That first class led to others as Kostos realized she could learn so much more. She took a computer course during her second semester at Tri-C. “I didn’t even know how to use email before that,” she said.
Kostos continued taking at least a class a semester “just to be an educated grandma.”
A Tri-C counselor, Mary Anne Buccini, encouraged Kostos to use those courses to earn a degree. Kostos said Buccini guided her toward graduation without pushing her beyond her limits.
The payoff for years of studying comes Thursday, Dec. 17, when Kostos receives an associate degree in liberal arts during Tri-C’s Fall Commencement. She intends to march in the ceremony at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.
She’ll have a cheering section as she walks across the stage, too. All five of her grandchildren plan to be in attendance that night.