Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chester Family to Celebrate Commencement Together as Graduates of Widener University

If this story doesn't fill you with pride, nothing will.




Chester native Tyrone Sturdivant, a biology major, will graduate from Widener University with his bachelor’s degree on May 12, 2012. 

After graduation, Sturdivant hopes to attend medical school, as he wants to become a doctor – and to relish his “own” graduation, as he’s always had to share it with his sister, Chardae Burton, who will also graduate from Widener this year with her master’s. 

“Being four years apart, it’s just something I’ve gotten used to,” he said. When he started at Widener in 2008, he didn’t expect that he’d be sharing his college graduation with his big sister, let alone his mother, Tonya Burns, who will also walk across Widener’s commencement stage May 12.



“To have my mom and sister graduate with me is worth sharing some of the spotlight on commencement,” Sturdivant said. “We are setting an example in the community. There are a number of opportunities to excel at Widener, in all aspects, academically and socially; my family got to experience that first hand.”

Burns, who will receive her bachelor’s in business from University College, started at Widener in 2006. A year later, she became employed at Widener. Burton, who will receive her master’s in social work education, caught the Widener bug as well, and decided to pursue her master’s after graduating from Cheyney University. Sturdivant, a Chester High School graduate, chose Widener for its biology program. “Class sizes were small, which was important for my major,” he said. “They had a good program, and I know I’d be able to connect personally with faculty.” It was also an advantage to be close to home and his mother.

Having her family on campus was a perk for Burns, a single mother of three, who is eager for graduation day. “I never gave up because of my children,” she said. “It took six years, but it was well worth it.” Burns, who worked at Widener for five years, recently took a job as a HR coordinator for Harrah’s Chester. She admits that she does miss being on campus all of the time, as it was nice to have lunch with Tyrone.

Burns, however, will always be a part of Widener. “I was a student, an employee, a parent of an undergraduate student, and a parent of a graduate student; and now I will be an alumna,” she said.

“Here I am now planning a graduation party, and I have to remember I am graduating too,” Burns said. “It’s a great feeling. As I tell my kids - school is cool and education is paramount. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Having two of my children as college graduates is more important than my degree. They were my motivation.”

Tyrell, the youngest of Burn’s three children, is a sophomore at Glasgow High School. He is a basketball player and is maintaining a 4.0 grade point average; needless to say, he is following in the footsteps of his whole family, and will be starting to apply to colleges soon.

Sturdivant has created a legacy for himself at Widener, as he was a leader on campus. He was the founding president of the Widener Chapter of the NAACP and a student government association.

“We are all thankful to have spent time at Widener and for the opportunities we received,” Burns said. “This is where it all started.”

The mother, son, and daughter will all participate in commencement on Saturday, May 12 at 9:45 p.m. on Memorial Field behind Old Main on Main Campus.

20 comments:

  1. CONGRATS! CONGRATS! AND CONGRATS

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  2. Congratulations to you and your family Tonya, you should be very proud! We miss you around here, hope everything is well.

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  3. Congratulations to all my cousins , great job from Heather

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  4. WOW, Tonya this story really and truly touched my heart!!! I have been proud of you and your kids accomplishments for a very long time. I am sitting here in tears; PLEASE KNOW THEY ARE TEARS OF JOY, HAPPINESS AND LOVE to see my people work so hard to accomplish a goal. Tyrone, Chardae and Tyrell not only be of yourself but be proud of the wonderful mother God has blessed you guys with. WAY TO GO & CONTINUE TO REACH FOR THE HIGHEST STAR.

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  5. Nileen in ATL GAMay 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    A very very special congratulation to my road dog and her kids tyrell and chardae I know u guys would make ur mother and family very very proud of u guys love u guys more then words can say good luck to all of u guys much much love...Im so sorry Im not there to bring in the good time with u guys..Mr Magoo u go boy watch the ladys we love a good man watch out..Chardae U go young women u made it happen good luck love u all..Nileen Peace...

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  6. CONGRATULATIONS TONYA, CHARDAE AND TYRONE!!! YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS WERE THE RESULT OF PRAYING TOGETHER, WALKING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER AND ENDURING TOGETHER. GOD HAS BLESSED YOU TO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE PLANS HE HAD FOR YOU. NOT ONLY DID HE REVEAL HIS PLANS TO YOU BUT HE ACCOMPANIED YOU THROUGH THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY. PRAISES!!! CONTINUE THIS JOURNEY TRUSTING HIM!! ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US!!!!!!
    CONGRATULATIONS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!
    PEACE, LOVE AND BLESSINGS!!!
    Terry W. & Family

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  7. To God Be The Glory!!!!

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  8. Hello my frends and family I am so happy and I give thanks to God. You ladies have been around over the years you watched these kids grow up yes with their crazy mother(lol)but getting to this point I count it all joy, everyone don't know my story. Mr. Magoo haven't heard that name in years, you told the whole Chester Tyrone's name you gave him when he came home from the hospital. Rachelle I am still crying everytime I look at that picture and look back over the years, I cry even more. Terry you nailed it praying together and sticking together.

    Than you Stephan Roots.
    Tonya

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  9. Absolutely wonderful story. I'm so proud of them all and I don't even know them. I too will be graduating with my Master's degree on May 12 from Neumann Univ and I know how much hard work, dedication and time it takes. Many blessing to their entire fmaily!

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  10. CONGRATS TYRONE YOU AND I ALWAYS YOU WOULD DO IT

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  11. NICKI ...SHELLY FRIENDMay 4, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    WOW...TONYA THIS VERY SPECIAL...I AM SO PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY...A SINGLE MOM PUTTING HER KIDS & HERSELF THRU COLLEGE...HUH(HEAD UP HIGH) FOR YOU ARE TRULY SPECIAL..

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  12. Three great reasons to be proud!! The city is truly blessed to have such wonderful examples of a family going the distance together- and you guys are simply the best!! I am going to miss the presence you have created here at Widener, but this was just a platform for the great works that you will continue in your walks in life- I love you all !! To God Be The Glory!!!

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  13. Congratulations!!! May god continue to bless you all with all your endeavors.

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    1. Tonya, Congratulations to you and your children on a job well done!! I am so very proud of all of you for your hard work and perseverance. Well Done and to God Be The Glory!!!

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    2. congrats to the three of u..what Chester makes,makes Chester as the saying goes.but this is just one of many stories of positivity coming out the City,this family gives a another family hope& faith that u can be & do anything as long as u keep God with u & strive for success..no one is a failure.job well done

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    3. ^^^ Well Said Aisha!!!

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  14. Congratulations to you all!!!! May God continue to bless your family & I wish you all much, much more success!!!

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  15. Wow, what an amazing and motivational story. Keep making Chester proud . This is exciting and the types of storied I love to read!!!

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  16. Congradulations to you and your family Tonya. I don't know how you did it! But of course I do! Family, dedication, commitment and a desire to just do better.

    Your family is an inspiration to the citizens of Chester and all families that don't quite know what to do or where to go next. You have truely set an example of "Us Helping Us". Stronger families is the solution.

    Congradulations

    Robert Rasul Gorman

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