Single mother, diagnosed with multiple diseases graduates 14 years later with 4.0 GPA

Local News

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A milestone for many is the day they walk across the stage, graduating from college.

Tomorrow a woman is graduating from the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff with a 4.0 GPA and her name on the Chancellor’s List, but that’s not all.

She’s a single mother of two kids, and she has also been diagnosed with multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia.

Chatora Herring is one determined woman. She didn’t just attend school, each semester she doubled up credits, went to summer school, had an internship and spent a lot of long nights studying.

“I don’t like to give up. I just had to take another route to the journey I started but I was determined to finish my journey,” Herring said.

Herring started her college journey at UAPB in 2003 majoring in Psychology.

In 2005, she left school to raise her first son.

“I had a family you know, so it was worth it,” said Herring.

Herring took 12 years off, and a lot happened during those years. She had another baby, became a single mother, was diagnosed with multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia.

“Life happens but there was no reason to stop. I had more reason to keep going than I did to stop and give up because I have two little ones looking up to me now,” said Herring.

Then she enrolled again in UAPB in 2017, majoring in human development. More determined than ever.. and professor Brenda Martin took notice.

“Just coming in hitting the ground running, yeah shes been doing that ever since she started,” said Dr. Martin.

“Sometimes I would have a baby laying across my laptop. He would literally fall asleep on my lap, I would roll him over and I would keep studying. Sometimes I would wake up at 3 am to finish a paper,” said Herring.

All of that studying paid off.

“I was noticing that my baby some of these signs,” said Herring.

Herring says her youngest son was diagnosed with Autism, something that may have gone unnoticed longer if it weren’t for her classes.

“If he’s holding his ears then I know he’s about to have a meltdown and it’s time to leave the store. You just have to make your schedule around his and do things around him, that’s with any kid whether he has autism or not,” Herring said.

Now this single mother is ready to get her diploma, with her two kids cheering from the stands.

Herring will be graduating tomorrow, but she says that’s not the end.

She plans on continuing her education by getting a masters degree next.

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