STAUNTON -- Despite the gloomy clouds that loomed over the ceremony, Mary Baldwin College held its 171st graduation outside on Sunday.
The song of the college's Alma Mater signals the end for many students. On a day when proud families are taking pictures and students dancing before they receive their degree, one mom received a new future.
"I still can't believe that it's over with, and I feel like I might go back and get my master's," said MBC graduate Mary Rainey Heishman.
Heishman won Outstanding Student for the Adult Degree program.
"My heart was racing when I heard she is a mother of five children. Since I don't believe there are many in the audience that have five children," said Heishman.
She said she was out of school for 10 years and decided to go back.
"I've had a passion for being an elementary school teacher since I was young and I held off and raised my children at home. As they started elementary school themselves I decided to go back," said Heishman.
Her family said it was wonderful to see her walk.
"It makes me feel great inside honestly. She wanted to be a teacher for years now and now that she finally has the ability to have the teaching job and do what she wants to do and doing what she loves doing, that's great for her. I love it," said Joseph Rainey, Heishman's brother.
Heishman said it wasn't a struggle to go back.
"Mary Baldwin has great advisers and committees that has really walked us through with everything and helped the adult students to go to the correct path," said Heishman.
The college graduated more than 100 residential students and 157 co-ed students in the adult degree program.
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