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WGU Graduate Speaker, Ngozika Ughanze, Summer 2007

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Ngozika Ughanze, Summer 2007
Western Governors University
<p>Ngozika Ughanze graduated from Western Governors University taking care of seven children. Ughanze of Texas migrated from Nigeria to America.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>I'm so excited to be here. My name is Ngozika Ughanze. I'm originally from Nigeria in West Africa. I was born the first of ten children to my parents. I am married and have seven children; three of them in college, one in high school, and three in elementary school. I came to America in 1997. That's ten years ago.</p> <p>When I was growing up, educating girls was not a priority. In fact, in some parts of my country, girls were not allowed to attend school. My parents were traders and had interactions with Englishmen who worked with big corporations and oil companies. My parents came to value and appreciate education from learning enough English to communicate with them. So they made it a priority in my family and sent all their children to school, regardless of gender.</p> <p>I continued in the vision my parents had for me of being educated and developed my own love of learning, which is still a powerful driving force in my life today. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. So 15 years after I got a diploma in mass communication in my country, Nigeria, I decided to go back to school. This was scary. Besides, I have many responsibilities. I am a mother with seven children, a homemaker, and I hold a full-time job. I must be insane to add attending college to my already busy life. But my vision of being a graduate and making a better financial life for my family motivated me to take the leap.</p> <p>All my time was already taken, so regular college classes will not be possible. And I was determined to pursue my goal and vision. Western Governors University was the perfect answer to my prayer; an online college that allows me to study at a comfortable pace without putting extra pressure on my time and my life. My husband brought the information about WGU home to me, and after further investigation of their courses, schedules, and class organization proved satisfactory, I enrolled.</p> <p>I worked hard from the onset. I made myself a little commitment note that says, "I made this choice because this is what I want to do to achieve my dream. And that I am committing myself to this project until it is done." I gave up some things that are very important like watching TV except for news, taking too long to do my shopping. I had to cut that down. I cut down on socializing, and also cut down on time I stay at gatherings. I managed my time well by using every opportunity I have to study.</p> <p>I took my books everywhere, and I involved my family. We play a game where they help me remember what I have learned. My baby girl was so involved that at times you will hear her question her siblings to stop being loud, that Mom is studying. We went to the library more. There was a time my computer broke down and I was using the computer at the library to do as much as I can.</p> <p>I studied as the children watched TV, played games, sleep. I studied as I wait in the care at doctor's visits, and even at work when I can. All these, in addition to my planned time of study, I was able to meet most of my deadlines, and some I missed due to family emergencies, illnesses, and work-related issues. However, I was able to make up and catch up. It was hard, but I persevered.</p> <p>My family has been forced by difficult circumstances to relocate many times. The most trying relocation was the result of Hurricane Rita. We were evacuated. We evacuated Houston, Texas to Albany, Texas, a little town almost 500 miles from Houston with a population of a little over 2,000 people. Hurricane Rita and the incidents surrounding so traumatized my family that we will not go back to Houston. We started all over at Albany, and I had to work two jobs.</p> <p>As I was struggling to make a new life for my family, I was also studying for my degree. Some of my children were ill, and many times I had to drive over 40 miles to get to the doctor or pharmacy to get medication for my children. For my older children to attend college, I had to drive about 45 miles to their college and back every school day since we only have one car. It was tough.</p> <p>We had to move again. We moved to Abilene, Texas where there were three private colleges, one public junior college, and better job opportunities. My college-age students now attend college there, and I found a job there as I continued to study for my degree. I was determined to succeed in my commitment to graduate came to my rescue many days. I felt like throwing in the towel. I also focused on the fact that a better job and improved quality of life for my family and a better me awaits at the end of the tunnel.</p> <p>The academic program at WGU, I am proud to say, was rigorous and in depth, as well as relevant and related to my course of study. First, it provided me with what I needed to learn, and the tools to compete out there in the world. I offer the prayer of thanks and appreciation for WGU. When I demonstrate teaching, I confirmed again that WGU was the right choice, because I used the right strategies I was taught in the classroom, and they worked perfectly. I did not feel like a student teacher, rather I took control of my class under the guidance of my host teacher, and I did a tremendous job.</p> <p>I thank God for this grace that made it possible for me to be here today. I thank you, WGU. I could not have done it without you. I thank you, the WGU staff, who patiently (inaudible) with me, especially my mentor, Mrs. Riley. She was the face of WGU to me. And she not only made sure I got all the help I needed, but also encouraged and motivated me. When I felt I could no longer go on, she dispels my doubts and tells me what an inspiration I am and that she believes in me. Her reminders helped smooth the rough patch.</p> <p>I'm also grateful to my classmates, who through the use of a community message board were able to help me figure out difficult and confusing assignments. I ran to the message board for help when my assignment is returned by the grader and I am still confused as to what to do. And when I am behind in my task, to help do the task right one time, I also consult the message board to read other students' questions and problems with the task, and how they figured out the right answer. I have been rescued by my classmates through the message board many times, and I appreciate you.</p> <p>Finally, I am grateful for the support of my family and friends, without which I could not have taken the first step towards this noble venture. My last words are these: If I, a full-time homemaker and mother of seven children working a full-time job, and sometimes two job, can graduate at WGU, anybody that's inspired can do that and even better.</p> <p>Today, I am proud to share with you the news that I have been offered a job at the school district where I did my student teaching. I am very excited and so very ready, all because WGU prepared me well. I do not know about you. As for me, I plan to come back to WGU July of 2008 to do my master's. Once again, I thank WGU and her staff for being there for me and you. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)