By Steve Koehler
Jennifer and Matthew Glossip had one tiny, but important, reason for getting their General Education Diplomas (GEDs) this year.
Her name is Jemma, the Glossips’ six-month-old baby daughter. She was the motivation for the husband and wife, who had dropped out of high school several years ago but returned to class to earn their diplomas.
The two received their GEDs together Sunday at Ozarks Technical Community College’s graduation ceremony at the Gillioz Theater.
“We did it for Jemma. It was very important for us. We want her to be proud of us,” Jennifer Glossip said.
The couple dropped out of high school for different reasons. Jennifer, 20, left Buffalo High School because she was pregnant and wanted to start a family with Matthew, also 20, who left Glendale High School when he was a sophomore.
The couple studied for their GEDs at the Missouri Career Center in Springfield.
“Our first priority was finishing school. I regret not finishing before,” Jennifer Glossip said.
The couple has set goals for their future. Jennifer wants to become a teacher and Matthew wants to run his own business. Both plan to start attending OTC. Graduates receive a three-credit-hour scholarship for a class at OTC after earning their GED.
But their biggest and most important goal is stressing to Jemma the importance of an education.
“We are going to show her that going to school and getting an education is the most important thing you can do,” Jennifer Glossip said.
The Glossips were among more than 300 graduates who received their diplomas Sunday. More than 100 took part in the ceremony in which guest speaker Rodney Loomer, a Springfield attorney, challenged the graduates not to stop getting their education.
“You decided to change your life. You’re on a roll now. Make it your goal to continue your education,” Loomer said.
Michelle Gray of Springfield plans to continue her education after receiving her diploma Sunday.
Gray said her layoff from Willow Brook Foods in the fall was “a blessing in disguise” and gave her a chance to improve her life.
“It was hard work and I’m proud of me. I was scared at first returning to school. It was the first time since 1986,” said the married mother of four.
Robin Willis of Seymour, who dropped out of high school more than 20 years ago, drove almost 75 miles round trip nearly every day in order to complete her GED work and also took college courses at OTC while studying for her diploma.
“I’m just going to see where it takes me,” Willis said.
Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666