Article by Joe Marusak, Charlotte Observer | Image Credit: John D. Simmons, Charlotte Observer
Candace Yow, 46 and her daughter Samantha Whitley, 21 graduated together from UNC Charlotte along with thousands of other 49ers on Friday, May 13, 2016. Yow received her bachelor of science in respiratory therapy and Whitley her bachelor of science in nursing. The pair are from Stanfield in Stanly County. Best of all, they’ll work together full time beginning this summer with children recovering from heart surgeries at Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center. Yow already works full time as the respiratory clinical coordinator at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center and as a respiratory therapist in Levine’s pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.She returned to school in 2002 at age 32 for a two-year associate degree in respiratory care. For the last 10 years, she has worked two full-time jobs.
“My goal was to become as independent as possible on my own,” said Yow, who lives in Stanfield in Stanly County. “As a single mom, it was a struggle,” but her two girls “watched my determination of getting where I needed to be in life.”
“They saw my drive to make something out of myself,” she said.
Daughter Alexis Whitley, 18, will graduate from West Stanly High June 10 and will attend UNCC in the fall, possibly in pre-nursing. Yow also has a son, Hunter Rushing, 9. She thought for years of returning for her bachelor’s degree. She’d seen her health care teammates do it. Once Samantha enrolled at UNCC, “I really thought how cool would it be to graduate with her.”
Other thoughts made her emotional Friday, including how proud her father would have been to see the first member of his side the family get a bachelor’s degree. He died 12 years ago. Yow is the second on her mother’s side with one.