Thursday, May 24, 2018

Graduate Finds Another Home at CVTC

Durand’s Jennifer Georgeson chosen as student speaker

Article Photo - Graduate Finds Another Home at CVTC

CVTC graduate Jennifer Georgeson is joined by her husband and fellow graduate, Garrett Georgeson, and the parents who adopted her at age 16, Robert and Kimberly Cropp of Durand, after the CVTC spring

It took 16 years for Jennifer Georgeson to find her home, and several years after that before she found a school that she could call home to continue her education. But Georgeson, 33, will get settled into a new career as a paralegal after her graduation from Chippewa Valley Technical College. And she has adoptive parents in Durand and a family of her own in Eau Claire to support her.

Georgeson, who was selected as the student speaker for the ceremony, was one of 630 graduates in 52 programs honored at CVTC’s spring commencement ceremony at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena Friday, May 18. The most popular programs were Nursing-Associate Degree with 90 graduates, Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement with 41, Business Management with 30 and Electrical Power Distribution with 29. In addition, nine students were recognized for receiving their GED or HSED high school credentials. Graduates included 413 receiving associate degrees and 217 receiving technical diplomas

On Thursday, May 17, 52 students in seven programs were honored at the CVTC River Falls campus commencement ceremony, and three students were recognized for receiving their GEDs.

“I grew up in the foster care system, so I bounced from house to house until my family adopted me when I was 16,” Georgeson said. She entered foster care at birth, then at age 11 one of the many families she had been with sent her to Robert and Kimberly Cropp of Durand while they took a vacation.

“I found out years later that when the others came back to pick me up, the Cropps told them they wanted to keep me, Georgeson said. “When I was 14, they asked if they could adopt me. By the time they asked to adopt me, it really felt like home.”

Georgeson was involved in many athletics and school activities in Durand where she graduated in 2003. When it came time for college, she tried UW-Barron County, but admits she really didn’t know what she was going to school for and dropped out. In 2008, tragedy struck when her boyfriend, planning to propose to her, suddenly died of a heart aneurysm.

“I was either going to go off the deep end, or I was going to reach for my dream,” Georgeson said. “He knew I wanted to be a lawyer someday.”

Georgeson excelled at a for-profit private college, but discovered too late that she wasted her money for credits that wouldn’t transfer anywhere. She couldn’t get admitted as a regular student to a public university for lack of that college, now closed, providing transcripts.

She landed at CVTC on the Friday before a new semester started. She was admitted, enrolled in the Paralegal program, and started classes the following Monday.

“When I went to classes for the first day, I felt there was something different about our class. We became a very close-knit class. We studied together and practically lived together, that made it feel like home.”

CVTC really was a family affair for her, since she met Garrett Georgeson in 2012. They married in 2016 when both were attending CVTC and now have two children. Garrett graduated in the Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program the same day as Jennifer.

And Georgeson has made the most of her opportunity at CVTC. She served as the Paralegal Club vice-president and president and on the Paralegal Advisory Committee as a student member, and volunteered at the Eau Claire Lighthouse for underprivileged children.

Georgeson has accepted a paralegal position at an Eau Claire law firm. She intends to continue to work as a paralegal while her two children are young and perhaps become a lawyer herself later.

“Now is our time,” she told her fellow graduates, referring to them as millennials. “We paid our dues and put in the time and now it is our turn to start working our way to the top… So, on this day, I say to you, congratulations millennials! WE are the future!”

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