Mother/Son Graduate from SVCC
By Meredith Feinman
Every graduate is unique; however, Amy Sloan and JaReese Arrington truly stood out on May 11, 2019, when mother and son graduated from Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC). From Emporia, Virginia, they attended Greensville County High School where Sloan graduated in 1997 and Arrington graduated in June 2019.
Sloan’s journey to her diploma was far from easy. She began taking classes at SVCC in 2004 after being recruited by Dr. Al Roberts who is currently the president. Between raising three children and working full-time, life just got in the way of taking classes. In 2015, Dr. Roberts urged Sloan to return to Southside to finish her degree. Life was not any less hectic for Sloan as it was in 2004. She was still working full-time, raising her family, and would soon be a caretaker for her mother. With the help of her son, JaReese, Sloan returned to Southside in 2015 to complete her degree.
JaReese’s path to his degree began in high school. His guidance counselor pushed him to take advantage of the great opportunity SVCC provides to high school students. By taking dual enrollment classes at his high school, while also working, playing sports, and teaching dance classes, JaReese was able to complete his associate degree before his high school graduation.
Both Amy and JaReese say that their most meaningful experiences at SVCC came from the people they met. Dr. Roberts, Erica Andrews, Kayla Green, and Kathryn Slagle are a few of the people that helped this mother and son on their journey. Dr. Dianne Edmonds also played a vital role in their success as she not only taught both these graduates, but counseled them after the passing of Sloan’s mother and kept her from leaving college in her time of grief.
After completing her associate degree in Human Services, Amy plans on continuing to work full time and attend Old Dominion University in the fall to study sociology. She wants to work improving the lives of others by teaching and mentoring, just as Dr. Edmonds did for her. After completing his associate degree of Arts and Sciences, General Studies, JaReese plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University to major in dance, possibly with another major in social work. He has been dancing since the age of seven, choreographing since he was 10, and dreams of showing people how dance can be a powerful counseling tool.
When asked if they had any advice for future SVCC students, JaReese said, “SVCC makes everything worth your while. They are always there to work with you, and they give you the chance to succeed.” Amy replied, “Adults and parents, SVCC gives you the opportunity to keep your current life and still succeed. They help you get to the next level; they open every door to you.”