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Marine, graduate, mother, wife: Fightertown Marine wears many hats, motivates family

By Lance Cpl. Josh Pettway | | April 2, 2010

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Seeking an education in a new marriage, while taking care of a child, can be challenging. For those who, also, have to fulfill their duties as a Marine, it can be especially difficult.

Corporal Stacy Atkinson, a consolidated automated support system technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, found a way to overcome obstacles and will graduate with a Master of Arts in teaching from University of South Carolina Beaufort, April 30.

“Corporal Atkinson has been an exemplary student and is a shining light for other Marines,” said David Ellard, education services officer for the Air Station.

As a new family there are many things the Atkinson’s had to consider and adjust to in order to succeed with their goals.

“Stacy did not find out that she was pregnant until it was two weeks into her course and it came as a shock to us both,” said Sgt. Keith Atkinson, radar chief for Air Traffic Control with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “She is really a strong-willed person and has a lot of determination. We are very proud of everything she has done.”

Stacy and her family have worked together in order to accomplish their goals and rely on one another.

“Keith has taken on a tremendous amount of domestic responsibility and as his academic journey unfolds right now, I will repay him by supporting his every academic endeavor.”

Stacy’s husband also drove her back and forth when she didn’t have a driver’s license.

“My husband, Keith, helped make my academic dreams come true by sacrificing our time as newlyweds,” Stacy said.

The Atkinsons did not stop with their plans despite the tremendous gift that was on its way into their world. Stacy continued her education and only took six days off to deliver her daughter Sept. 1, 2009.

Stacy student taught classes at Galer Elementary on Laurel Bay the week following her delivery to reach the necessary hours for graduation.

While enlisted, Stacy planned to finish her bachelors and become a commissioned officer.

“My initial thoughts were to leave the enlisted side and join the officer ranks,” Stacy said. “I have a deep respect for Marines that do that, as they truly understand both sides of the Marine Corps. Unfortunately, my calling was to teach elementary students and I will have to complete that
as a civilian.”

Stacy has also recently been accepted to Lesley University in Massachusetts to earn a master of education in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in reading and literacy.

“While educating students in the fall, I found a passion for teaching young children to read. I did not enjoy reading as an elementary student and found my love for books during a Children’s Literature course in April 2009,” Stacy said.” I want to give students a love for reading books earlier than I found mine.”

As a new mother, she wants to show her daughter that she can achieve anything in the world with extreme dedication.

"I imagine one day showing her a scrapbook of my journey to becoming a teacher and telling her that I carried her in my belly for the better part of this journey and even though she didn't know it at the time and still doesn't...she was my inspiration to study for that test, write that paper, plan that next lesson."


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