TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -With Hudson Valley’s 69th annual Commencement taking place on May 13, future graduates like Daphne Barber are excited to see their hard work pay off. For Barber, her journey at HVCC has lasted over several decades.

Barber first attended HVCC after graduating from Albany High School in 1987. Now in 2023, she is about to earn an Early Childhood associate degree. “A lot of semesters in and out, I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to finally complete this journey,” said Barber.

Described as a dream come true, Barber’s path to graduation was not easy. After graduating from high school, Barber was a single mother to a two-year-old daughter. She soon enrolled in HVCC and had to leave due the pressures of school and supporting her daughter. “For my children, it’s a blessing to be a role model for them. They can look up to me and know ‘Mommy can complete things and so can I’,” described Barber.

She would later get married and have another child but still wanted to finish what she started after high school. In 2011, at 41 years old, Barber completed Hudson Valley’s Teaching Assistant certificate program. She had found a career that spoke to her. “I love working with children. I developed a passion for working with kids, I decided to further my education,” explained Barber.

Through her dream job at the Henry Johnson Charter School, Barber wanted to continue at HVCC for her associate’s degree. “I always wanted to get more knowledge on education and working with children so I can better myself as a teacher,” stated Barber.

With graduation on the horizon, Barber hopes to go even further with education for a bachelor’s degree. “I haven’t really decided on a school as of yet, but hopefully soon I will be able to do that,” said Barber.

When it comes to starting and continuing with college, Barber has some advice. “It’s always gonna be there, just take your time. Just take one or two classes and it’ll be there when you’re ready to go back,” explained Barber.