Graduation day for 180 students at Knoxville's South College

Graduation day for 180 students at Knoxville's South College

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Saturday was graduation day for more than 180 South College students in Knoxville.

It's a big day for every graduate, but especially so for one local mother of four, who after working years in a factory, decided she was going to do more with her life.

Now, thanks to South College and four long years of hard work in the classroom, Steffanie Norwood finally has a college degree in her hand.

"Steffanie Norwood, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice," said the announcer at Saturday's graduation ceremony, held at the Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville.

Those are the words Norwood has been longing to hear her entire life.

Walking across that stage to pick up her diploma, she remembers the long years she worked at a factory to provide for her family.

But four years ago, she began to ponder a major life change, knowing she could do more for herself, and her family.

"I just see so much wrong in the world and I want to do what I can to make it better," said Norwood of Knoxville.

Norwood enrolled in the criminal justice program at South College.

The program allowed her to still work during the day and attend classes at night.

Now, after countless hours of studying, she's done it.

Her mom is a police officer, but Norwood is using her criminal justice degree for something a little different.

She's going to be a federal law enforcement park ranger with the National Park Service.

"A park ranger wear's a lot of different hats. They help the public. Take care of the visitors," said Norwood.

Choosing to enroll in college was a big life change, but now, on the other side of all that hard work, Norwood says she is able to show her four children that no matter what life hands you, you can always do better.

Norwood also received the Outstanding Criminal Justice Student award at the graduation ceremony.

Norwood is staying at South College to earn her Master's degree.

She'll begin those classes in just a few weeks.

Before she officially becomes a law enforcement park ranger, Norwood must also attend the park ranger academy and become a certified EMT.

For more information about South College's criminal justice program, visit the school's website.

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