'I Will Finally Be a Nurse and Give My Kids a Better Life'
As a child, Deanne Parr dreamed of one day becoming a nurse. And while a teenage pregnancy influenced her decision to drop out of high school, 14 years later and now a mother of two, her dream came true on a Friday night last May.
Parr’s success results from a long journey. Eight years ago, she completed her GED and moved to Champion, Ohio, to take care of her mom, Lourie. Parr then started a nursing program, but she acknowledges that it was challenging while caring for her children.
"My mom lived nearby, so I drove by the Kent State Trumbull Campus every day," Parr said. "By then, both kids were in school, so I took the leap and decided to apply."
Parr attended full time and received Trumbull Campus scholarships. However, to make ends meet she also had to balance two jobs, waiting tables and working as an aid at a regional hospital. She also made sure her children could participate in their favorite activities. Corbyn is now 14 and plays soccer. Her daughter, Abbie, is 9 and does competitive dance.
The convenience of the regional campus and smaller class sizes also helped her succeed.
"I only live a few miles from school, which is a huge benefit," Parr said. "The smaller classes made it more comfortable, and the professors were always available to help me and provide encouragement. I made so many friendships that I'll treasure. We helped each other get through."
On May 13, Parr took the stage at Packard Music Hall as the student speaker for Kent State Trumbull's 2022 Spring Commencement. She fought heavy tears as she talked about this being her first-ever graduation ceremony and how she was crossing a rare finish line as only 2% of teen mothers earn a degree before turning 30. She received a standing ovation.
"It's hard to believe. It's been an incredible journey," Parr said. "I hope that anyone afraid to take the risk looks beyond the short-term obstacles and focuses on the end goal. I will finally be a nurse and give my kids a better life."
Parr has accepted a position working on the medical surgery floor at Trumbull Regional Medical Center. She plans to go back to school to earn a master's degree and eventually become a wound care nurse.
To view Parr's speech at commencement, visit https://www.kent.edu/trumbull/graduation-commencement.
To learn more about Kent State University at Trumbull, visit https://www.kent.edu/trumbull.
To learn more about Kent State University's College of Nursing, visit https://www.kent.edu/nursing.