April Clark of Paducah was named April Student of the Month at West Kentucky Community and Technical College - an honor that shares her first name and one she received just weeks before she earned an associate in applied science degree in criminal justice.
The first in her family to go to college, Clark overcame many obstacles to become a WKCTC student in spring 2016 and fulfilled a dream of earning a college degree just two years later as she walked across Paducah's Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center at WKCTC's May 5 commencement.
"Being the first in my family to attend college and to graduate with a 3.7 GPA is absolutely an honor," said the 44-year-old, Clark who said she credits her strength to her mom, dad and her family. "My hard work at earning this degree is to show them no matter how hard things got I never quit."
Her determination paid off.
"What makes it amazing is....knowing that I made a difference in my life and I got to share my big day with an amazing young man." She and her son, Colton, graduated from WKCTC together May 5. He earned an associate in science degree. Clark's husband, Ryan, also graduated with an associate in science degree in May. He said he decided not to walk in the commencement ceremony to give his wife and son their time to shine. Their daughter, Alexandra, is also attending WKCTC.
During her time at WKCTC, Clark served as treasurer of the college's student justice club Alpha Epsilon Beta, and she was a member of the college's Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Both Clark and her son made the Dean's List in fall 2017. She is also active in the community as a volunteer firefighter/first responder at Concord Fire Department.
"There are so many people that I owe so much gratitude to for not giving up on me....I will always remember WKCTC as my second home and the reason of who I am today," said Clark "I am walking away with a better understanding of not only who I am, but a better person with more knowledge of who I'm supposed to be."
She said hopes to have set an example of other nontraditional students. "No matter of one's age or how long one has been out of school hold on to your strength, look beyond your weakness, and you will go far."