Monica Maury ‘23 will be the Commencement Speaker representing Bachelors Degree students.
Growing up, all Monica Maury ’23 wanted to be was a mother and have a family, because growing up in Baltimore, she never felt like she had one.
“It was the 1970s,” Maury said. “There were a lot of drugs and alcohol growing up in my house and not a whole lot of supervision.”
On her 12th birthday, her parents got divorced. Over the next few months, both parents would remarry and Maury would move to Pennsylvania to live with her mother and step-father. The situation only created more trauma. Maury continued to distance herself from the family and eventually left home at 17.
“Because I’ve told the story so many times, it’s more shocking to me that I can tell it so dryly,” Maury said. “It just is what it is. I just knew, from there, that I wanted to be a mother so I can have a family because mine never really felt like one.”
Maury did have the family she desired. She became a stay-at-home mother for 25 years. She was a “chronic volunteer” including with the Girl Scouts, an opportunity she says created a huge impact on her life.
“There would be no Monica standing here today without the Girl Scouts,” Maury said. “It brought me out of my shell. I’m just glad it happened, even if it was well into adulthood.”
Once her youngest daughter went to college, Maury began working at a local YMCA program for middle schoolers. She thought that the next best thing to being a stay-at-home mother was to help be a mom for other peoples’ kids.
She eventually enrolled in a Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA) Program. Part of the program requires an observation from a specialist. Maury’s observer was Manor College Professor Dr. Cherie Crosby-Weeks.
The pair only spent two hours together, with Dr. Crosby-Weeks giving Maury pointers on working with children and the little things she can do to improve. Afterwards, Dr. Crosby-Weeks encouraged Maury to get her college degree.
Maury left the conversation knowing that not only was she going to get her college degree, she’d do it at Manor College.
“I didn’t really look at other schools,” Maury said. “I know that sounds ridiculous, but I had so much anxiety being an older student. I felt comfortable with her knowing she’d be my professor. She was a security blanket. I didn’t know her that well then, but she gave me the confidence boost needed to do it.”
In 2020, Maury was in the final semester of earning her Associate’s Degree at Manor College when doctors diagnosed her daughter with thyroid cancer. Not long after she let her family know of the diagnosis, Maury sent an email to Dr. Crosby-Weeks, letting her know about the situation and how it might affect Maury’s classwork.
Almost immediately, Dr. Crosby-Weeks called Maury.
“She just let me go on and on and on talking on the phone,” Maury said. “She just kept reminding me that I could do it. She just kept telling me that it’s all things we can work through. Cherie said that if school needs to go on the backburner, fine, but she wanted me to graduate for me.”
On May 11, Maury will walk across the stage at Manor College’s Commencement Ceremony not only as a college graduate, but as the Commencement Speaker representing Bachelor’s Degree students.
“The nice thing about Monica is that during her time, she had some significant life events, and every time, she turned the corner,” Dr. Crosby-Weeks said. “For a lot of people, it would’ve stopped them in their tracks. For Monica, she was always honest about what was going on so we can help her. She has a strong tenacity for pushing through. She just knows how to get the job done.”
During her speech, she hopes to encourage those who have gone through tough times to believe in themselves, even if no one else does.
“I was once one of those people,” Maury said. “I have my kids and my husband as my cheerleaders, but I still had to convince myself to do it. You have to be able to do it yourself.”
As the Assistant Director of Learning Matter Academy in Wyomissing, she’s seen first hand how her education through Manor has made a difference.
“I actually have several of my teachers here now taking their CDA course with Cherie,” Maury said. “I absolutely recommend it. I’ve seen some of the other colleges and the work I see them do in no way prepares you for what you’re doing, whereas what I learned at Manor through my Early Childhood Education classes has prepared me for what it is that I do here every day.”
Our 2023 Graduates:
- Monica Maury
- Anthony Caristo
- Argylle Kelly
- Chyna McKinney
- Zoma Qurashi
- Thomasine Woods
- Danielle Vera
- Diana Nguyen
- Kassandra Stone
- Kaylyn Flanagan