When they were first married, Cindy and her husband, Rick, decided that she would be a stay-at-home mom and support his Air Force career by ‘holding down the home front.’
When their children entered school, Cindy offered to help in the classrooms. Her offer evolved into a genuine dedication to volunteering and she was soon a permanent fixture in the children’s schools.
In 2005, the family PCS’d to Moody Air Force Base. At that time, the children were a bit older and Cindy decided to focus on a career. “It was evident that I needed to go back to college. As you know, military families live paycheck to paycheck; therefore finding the money to go and not cause a financial burden was a difficult task.”
Cindy enrolled in nearby Valdosta State University with the goal of becoming a teacher. Cindy admits that it wasn’t an easy decision. She was still managing the household during her husband’s deployments and raising two children who were actively involved in multiple athletic and academic activities. Budgeting for all of her courses became more challenging as well.
“ThanksUSA had a great deal of influence on my decision to finish college. As I approached my senior year, my funding ran out so I contemplated not finishing. With one last ray of hope I applied for the ThanksUSA scholarship. The scholarship was almost the exact amount of money I needed -- It was amazing!!”
In 2009, Cindy graduated from Valdosta State University with Summa Cum Laude honors. Unfortunately, there were very few employment opportunities. Cindy was hired as a preschool teacher, but knew that she belonged in a k-12 setting.
Of course teaching isn’t the only thing Cindy does. She is a member of the school’s Leadership Team, serves on many committees, and assisted in writing the School Improvement Plan.
Cindy understands that many military spouses are conflicted about returning to school but says, “Going back to school was one of the smartest decision I have made in my life.”
You can connect with Cindy and fellow ThanksUSA scholarship recipients on our ThanksUSA Alumni and Friends Facebook page. Cindy is happy to share her story and offer advice to anyone struggling with educational decisions.
“Thank you for being such a vital part of making college possible for me to complete. ThanksUSA not only touched my life directly, but the ripple in the water has touched many other children's lives.”
One of those children is a fellow ThanksUSA scholarship recipient, Cindy’s daughter, Gabrielle.