Shavonte and Jennelle Butler “I’ve been here, off and on, since ’97. But now I’m going full time, and I want to graduate before Jennelle starts kindergarten. That’s the plan.”

It’s not easy raising a family and earning an education. But it’s what so many mothers and fathers are doing to give their children a bright future. “For a long time, I could only take a class here and there,” says Shavonte Butler. “But now I’m here full time, and I’ve got a very supportive husband, and we’ve worked out my three- and five-year goals.”

Shavonte explains her goals in a deeply personal fashion. “I’m going to get my Bachelor’s in Psychology, and eventually go on to study for my Master’s degree. Ultimately, I want to be a clinical psychologist. And it’s very personal for me,” she explains. “You see, I’m the product of parents who struggled with some major problems. And I just want to take that experience and help others to see there’s a way out. You can always make a difference in your life. And I’d like to think that I can do a lot to help out young people who may be at risk in the situations they get into.”

One thing is for certain: Jennelle is going to have a very compelling role model. “I love bringing her to school, because I’m a living example of what’s possible. And it’s great to have Jennelle acclimated to the whole college process; to see it first-hand. I believe I’m creating memories for her that’s she’ll retain when she’s older and take into her own life. SMC is a great place to study when you have a small child,” says Shavonte. “And I recommend this college to anyone, no matter what phase of life you’re in.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.