Mother and Daughter Graduate from Gateway

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Among the 903 degrees and certificates awarded at Gateway Community College’s 23rd Commencement were two that are a double source of pride for Donna Howe, a mother of three, and her youngest daughter Bernadette Romano. Both mother and daughter are members of the Class of 2015.

Donna Howe, a tax agent at H&R Block and a real estate agent, earned her associate degree in Business Administration: Account Option along side her daughter Bernadette, a successful hair stylist, who will also earned her associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Speaking enthusiastically about what her new degree means to her and her daughter, Donna Howe explained that she was never able to attend college herself because she had children at a young age, but she believes that a higher education is essential and compelled her children to complete their college education. “As a parent you want to push your children to be better than you” said Howe, “but it is also important to practice what you preach”. With two children through college and living fulfilling lives Donna made the decision to pursue her own education, but she wasn’t going to do it alone.

Followed in her siblings’ footsteps, Bernadette Romano attended college right out of high school until she decided that she wanted to become a hair stylist.  She is satisfied with her career choice, but wanted to start a new tradition with her family.

“It’s exciting” said she explains, when talking about returning to college. “It is like we started a new tradition”. Howe and her children are the first in their family to earn college degrees, and they admit that it not always easy.

Howe expressed that it was hard to return to college after 35yrs and Romano explains that it was challenging even after seven years. Both mother and daughter work full-time, which was also a challenge—especially for Howe during tax season.

When asked what the biggest challenge was in returning to college, both mother and daughter laughed when Howe mentioned the TI-81 calculator. “It was my biggest enemy” she joked. However, both agreed that it was thanks to the support from their family and each other, the journey to graduation was successful and fulfilling.