Graduate can't attend own graduation

6:56 AM, May 15, 2011   |    comments
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"I have seen so many things in the world and honestly that's not even a big deal," said Green.

Green is not your typical college student. She's a middle-aged woman with two grown daughters. She works at home caring for developmentally disabled adults. She also travels to Africa to care for orphans.

"And, then when we came back I said, 'I'd really love to know how to be able to serve better,'" said Green.

That's when she decided to pursue an International Studies degree at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.

"I was able to put together my own degree and make it what I want for myself," said Green.

That's the thing. She didn't want the degree for herself. She wants a degree so she can better help the children living in extreme poverty overseas.

"My heart was shaken by this that I kept thinking, 'We need to be able to do what we can do for these children,'" said Green. "It just changed my life. It changed my focus. It changed everything."

So Green began to tackle courses at Metro State when life decided she needed more challenges.

"We ended up adopting my granddaughter, so that threw a little bit of kink in the plans and then I ended up becoming pregnant at my old age and had a son," said Green.

With two small children which she home-schooled, with a house full of developmentally disabled adults, she was able to complete two years of work in five years. She says she had to find ways to squeeze school in with her life.

"I would take classes at night," said Green. "I would take correspondence courses."

Instead of just getting by, Green got an A in every one of her classes maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

"Many times, I would fall asleep at my computer trying to get things done," said Green.

She says her husband would support and motivate her. And, she would think of the children she could help with a better understanding of international relations, customs, and history.

"She worked really hard and she just finished her class," said Lillie Green, her 6-year-old daughter.

With a new degree, Green just accepted a job to be the coordinator of an orphanage in Zambia. Yet, she still can't attend graduation because her husband has to be away for work and her developmentally disabled adults need to be cared for.

"They need 24-hour supervision. I can't leave them alone to do this," said Green.

She says friends and others have offered help, but none of them are qualified nor approved to care for the people in her house. Green says she will travel back and forth from Zambia when her husband can stay at home.

Green will miss her graduation on Sunday. But she says that's okay.

"Not going to graduation is just not even that important in the scheme of things of life of what I see with and where my heart is at," said Green.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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