Pictured above: Kathy Sloggett and her daughter Gina on their convocation day, June 19.
Most graduates can hear their families cheering them on as they are called to receive their diplomas or certificates; but on June 19, one mother-daughter duo graduated side by side, just as they had completed their studies at Niagara College.
Gina Sloggett and her mother Kathy graduated from Niagara College’s Social Service Worker program together. They enrolled in the College program with a passion for helping others and dreams of opening an outreach centre someday in their town of Crystal Beach.
“Since I was a child, my mother instilled the passion of helping others in my heart,” said Gina. “We always found ways of making a difference in someone’s life.”
Kathy wanted to open an outreach centre since she first moved to Crystal Beach 25 years ago, seeing the need in the community. After about 13 years working with the Niagara Parks Commission, Kathy stepped down from her job to follow her dreams.
The past few years have been a struggle for Gina, and her mother’s support has made all the difference in her life. As a single mother of two, Gina had been working on earning her high school diploma for eight years. After Gina received her high school diploma in 2010, they decided to enroll in College together. They were among 30 of the hundreds of applicants who were accepted into the competitive program. Together, they overcame the challenges of their college journey.
It was a difficult one for Gina, with two children at home.
“Our journey through college together had its ups and downs, but we had each other,” said Gina. “She kept me on my feet by reminding me of our near future goals, and on the days she needed a push, I was there for her.”
Kathy was also grateful to have her daughter by her side. With disabilities such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, Gina was always there to help her.
“She’s been a blessing,” said Kathy.
Gina is now pursuing Child and Youth studies at Brock University, working toward a bachelor’s degree, while Kathy plans to continue working as an aboriginal criminal courtroom worker. They hope to move forward with the outreach centre by the end of the year.
Meantime, Kathy and Gina are proud of their achievements at Niagara College. After living together, attending college together and studying together, the mother and daughter were happy their hard work paid off and they were finally graduating.
“Now, it’s our time to celebrate together,” said Gina. “There’s nobody else I could imagine being here with but my mom.”