Despite graduating with different majors, the two were given the opportunity to walk together at commencement.
Mara decided three years ago to return to college after being a stay-at-home mom for 21 years and raising five children, including Maggie, 21, Colden, 18, Gabe, 16, and Sleigh, 13.
She decided to return after taking a full-time job at the middle school in Sauk Prairie where her husband, Ted, is the principal. She also picked up part-time work as a server at a local brewery.
She worked 60 hours a week and focused on her college education.
“I had to let my kids become a little more self-sufficient than I thought they could be. I allowed myself to cry, to become frustrated, but also to lean on others, use the resources I had to help and mostly allowed myself to recognize I was trying to do something amazing. My children were watching every move I was making and told me a million times how proud they were of me. My husband was so supportive of me every step of the way and wiped my tears and cheered me on.”
She chose UW-Stout because it was on the top of the list of schools that offered Wisconsin licensure and because her son was enrolled.
Taking semester off proved to be ‘great choice’
Jacob started at UW-Stout in 2016 and chose the university because industrial design seemed like a good fit for him. He feels the university has prepared him for the workforce.
“Stout did a good job at preparing students for what they need to do after graduating,” Jacob said. “Having the ability to talk to your professors one on one helped make useful connections and gave the opportunity to get advice you might not get in class.”
Jacob took a semester off during his college career and is glad he returned to finish his degree.