Darton adds newest alumni - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Darton adds newest alumni

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May 5, 2006

Albany -- Experts say the job market looks pretty good for this year's college graduates. Many Darton College graduates are now ready to enter that working world.

Friday night nearly 300 students graduated with associate degrees or certificates in subjects from science to church music. Many of them will go on to work here in our area.

Educators say commencement is a proud time, and it's important to give these students a place to advance their careers.

"They kinda grow roots into our community, so this is very good for southwest Georgia," said Darton College President Dr. Peter Sireno.

Close to half of Friday night's graduates will go on to get four-year degrees. Most others will start working through the school's career program.

Nurses in Georgia are in high demand, and Darton's nursing program is helping with the shortage. More than 30 of Friday night's graduates earned nursing degrees. For one single mom it took hard work to achieve a 13-year long dream.

Lesa Beach is smiling as many years of work are recognized at graduation. As a young single mother she made a choice to raise her two daughters, have a job, and go to school at the same time.

"I started Darton in 93, when my youngest daughter was about a year old. I've taken classes, maybe one or two for about thirteen years until I got into the nursing program," said Lesa Beach.

It's something she's wanted to do to provide for her girls and her parents, who sit in the crowd sharing her proud moment.

"She's a courageous person because a lot of people wouldn't do that. After having kids they'd be like oh, I'm done I guess I'll just let my kids go on and do better things than I did. But she actually went back and showed us you can still do it after having kids," said Courtney Beach.

While Lesa Beach had a non-typical route through school, she made it and proves that others can do the same.

"It feels great. Long hard road, but I did it, by the grace of God," said Beach.

It's an unselfish love that got Lesa Beach through today. The soon to be nurse will soon care for many others as well.

The nursing program at Darton is growing. Darton College president Peter Sireno expects the number of graduates next semester will almost double to more than 50 people.

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