If Franki Cleveland could tell her younger self one thing it would be something simple: “Stick it out. It will matter in the future.” Cleveland dropped out of school in the 9th grade. She is now the proud mother of two daughters, a great life behind and ahead of her. However, she’s always regretted not completing her educational journey.
That’s why, now at 50, she’s finally finishing her education. Three years ago, she returned to school, taking a class at West Hills College Coalinga. Even more fascinating, she’s doing it alongside her 20-year old daughter, Katy Cleveland. “It started with one class,” she said. “I realized I kind of liked learning. Then I took two other classes and it continued on in that manner until I got so far into it that Katy was like look ‘you have to finish it now.’” Franki and her oldest daughter Katy attended WHCC side by side and even had one class together, an American Sign Language class. They graduated at almost the same time: Katy was part of the Spring 2020 graduating class while Franki is working on her last class toward an Associate’s degree in psychology and will be finishing this fall.
“I’m impressed that she decided to go back,” said Katy, who graduated with an Arts and Humanities degree and transfered to UC San Diego this fall. “I never really wanted to go to college because it wasn’t something I had ever really seen as important. When she went back, I saw everything that went with it and how important it was. Education opens so many doors to you and it’s important to take advantage of it when you can. It opens the world to you.”
That kind of impact is exactly why Franki decided to go back to school. She made the choice both for herself and for her daughters. “I want my girls to have choices and opportunities and education brings that,” she said. I wanted to model that for them.” The whole experience, according to Franki and Katy, had the experience of bringing the family together as well. They’d often find themselves, alongside 16-year old sister Emma, workthemselves, working on homework at the same time. “It was a fun expeing experience to come home and have someone to help with rience assignments and have extra help and practice,” said Katy. “We went through it together.”