NORWALK, Conn. - Graduating from high school can be a feat in and of itself. Graduating from high school while being a devoted mother adds a level of challenges most people can’t imagine. Connecticut resident Cristy Gonzales can though, and 13 years later, she’s still taking each task she faces by storm.
After high school, Gonzales realized going away to college just didn't fit into her plans. Instead of looking at this turn of events negatively, she became more involved at the doctor’s office where she worked. She decided to also attend the Katherine Gibbs School for Business and was eventually promoted to office manager. However, Gonzales wasn't ready to stop there. Next, she enrolled at Norwalk Community College. Unfortunately, the commute back and forth each week, coupled with caring for her 3-year old daughter, Alyssa, forced Gonzales to take a leave of absence and consider other education and career options.
While she continued to manage the doctor’s office, she also began working at the elementary school her children attend. That’s where she met John Reynolds, who saw in Gonzales the potential for even more.
Today, Gonzales is married with two beautiful children. At Reynolds' suggestion, Gonzales looked into the IDEAL program at the University of Bridgeport. IDEAL courses are designed to help develop and demonstrate skills and abilities in four major areas; communications, problem solving; interpersonal relations; and critical thinking skills assessing the nature of society, individuals and organizations.
The programs are geared toward business and social sciences, which are right up Gonzales' alley. She enrolled right away and after attending her first course, “Pervasive Communication,” she knew she made the right decision this time.
“I have to thank Professor Abdullah, who totally inspired our whole class with her story and made (my) first class, after thirteen years, an awesome experience.”
Cristy, jokingly, says she’d like to finish college before her daughter, now a junior in high-school. She finds herself grateful every day for Reynolds, her incredibly supportive family, and the University of Bridgeport for helping her find the tools necessary to achieve her goals.