Duquesne University graduated hundreds of students at their last graduation, with several African Americans graduating with Bachelors of Science, master’s and doctoral degrees. Two, of which, spoke to the New Pittsburgh Courier.
One took 34 years off from school to help take care of and raise a family before going back for his master’s, and the other, who is an educator, received her doctoral degree. Both graduates earned degrees in education and said it was due to wanting to help make a difference in the way African American kids are being educated.
Aaron Lee Felder, a staffing specialist for Allegheny County, earned his bachelors degree from the University of Louisiana in 1982 and, 34 years later, graduated with a master’s degree in education administration, K-12, from Duquesne University. After getting his bachelor’s degree, Felder worked in the school system, followed by several corporate jobs, until he was laid off. He decided to go back to school, he said, because “I had educational experience; I wanted to further my education and get my master’s degree to become a principal.”
He said he will take the principal’s test within the next few months and work on his doctoral degree, in a year or so.
“I want to be a principal in my neighborhood, but I will go wherever the opportunity takes me,” he said. “I feel I can be an inspiration, and have an impact in and on whatever community and students that I deal with.
“I want to let my people know that if you can pursue what you want to pursue, then pursue it. If you have an aspiration to achieve your goals, you can do it. Just don’t give up on your goals, on life and what you want to do. Education is a lifetime journey.”