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Overcoming the Odds - College Success editorial

Overcoming the Odds - College Success editorial -...

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Philly.com Posted on Thu, May. 13, 2010 Ronnie Polaneczky: She majored in persistence to earn college degree By Ronnie Polaneczky Philadelphia Daily News Daily News Columnist MEDIA STORIES abound about college graduates who trumped tough odds to get their degrees. I usually don't write them. I can never decide what makes one grad's story more worthy than another's, when they're all deserving of the spotlight. When I heard about Mareeda Perry, who will graduate Sunday from La Salle University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, I broke my rule and gave her a call. By the middle of that first conversation, I knew I had to write about this indomitable young woman, whose chaotic upbringing should have made her a statistic by now. Her mom, who had eight kids by four men, often left her children alone while she went off to "find herself." She died when Mareeda, now 24, was just 18. Mareeda's dad, tortured by mental illness, floats in and out of Mareeda's life like a ghost. And many in her huge, extended family have struggled with poverty, unwed pregnancy and incarceration. How, then, has Mareeda broken free of the web that might have ensnared her by now? How did she come to be living on her own, baby-free and self-supporting, employed at a place where she's so highly regarded, she keeps getting promoted? How did she hold down a second and third job while studying for her bachelor's degree?
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