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Student overcomes challenges to pursue her dreams

Dora Stricklin speaks to high school equivalency graduates on May 13, 2019.

BURNSVILLE—Graduating from college is a major accomplishment for many especially when they are the first one in their family to graduate with a degree.

A Tishomingo County lady has beat the odds and is currently paving the way for others in her family and community.

Dora Stricklin of Burnsville graduated from Northeast Mississippi Community College with three degrees.

Stricklin received associate's degrees in administrative office technology, computer technology and business management technology.

"This was amazing because I never thought I could do this, but I did," said Stricklin, who was the first among her siblings to receive a GED.

Stricklin stopped attending school when she was in the seventh grade and in 2013 she decided to go back and finish.

"I only had a seventh grade education. So it was a little difficult at first, but I had an amazing support system and some wonderful teachers, who encouraged me to get my GED," said the mother of four.

After receiving her GED, Stricklin decided to pursue the Workforce Career Pathway Program at Northeast. She had to take seven classes in order to get a medical and business office certification. While there, she was able to obtain her IC3 certification and a Microsoft office specialist certification.

Not too long after getting her high school equivalency, Stricklin's brother and sister-in-law both followed in her footsteps and got their GED as well.

She immediately pursued higher education once she completed the program.

"I enrolled at NEMCC on August of 2015 and I took the minimum amount of classes because I was a stay at home mom at the time," said the 34-year-old college graduate.

As soon as Stricklin began her first day of class, tragedy struck. Her father passed away from lung cancer.

"At this point I didn't think I needed to continue because my emotions were all over the place," said Stricklin, who refrained from quitting college.

A few months later Stricklin's, grandmother passed away and within a year, she and her husband lost a combination of five loved ones. Her husband was also laid off while she was working on her education.

"It was so hard to deal with because those people were the ones who inspired me to go back to school. So I continued to go to school in their memory," said Stricklin, who also wanted to set an example to her children by graduating.

On May 10, 2019, Stricklin walked across the stage of Bonner Arnold Coliseum at NEMCC in a cap and gown and received her associate's degrees.

A few days later she was the guest speaker for the NEMCC GED/Pathway graduation.

"That was such a big honor to me. I was extremely proud to see what all I had accomplished. My family was so happy," said the proud mom, who has more goals she is ready to achieve.

Stricklin is originally from Alcorn County, but grew up in Burnsville. She and her husband, Jay have been married since 2007. The couple has four children, 18-year-old Gage, 16-year-old Nathaniel, 11-year-old Jayden and eight-year-old Kaden.

Her oldest son, Gage recently graduated from Tishomingo County High School this year.

According to Stricklin, Jay was her biggest driving force.

"He kept me going the whole time even when I wanted to give up. He was there," said Stricklin, who received her GED with two and a half months.