EDMOND — Eleven years after high school graduation, Faith Evans will wear a cap and gown once again as she receives her bachelor's degree Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Her longer-than-usual journey from college freshman to college graduate included a couple of stops and starts and plenty of classes squeezed in between work and children.
“I've always thought that I was a great multitasker,” Evans said.
“You have to be patient. It's not worth it to get stressed out over the little things in life,” she said.
Evans graduated from Northwest Classen High School in 2002 and started her college career that fall at UCO.
After completing her first year, Evans was tripped up by an unexpected pregnancy and didn't return to UCO until 2005.
This time, she had to juggle classes with a toddler and a job at Northstar Properties, where she works today as a property manager. The job helped her decide what she wanted from college — a business administration degree with a minor in real estate.
Throughout a marriage, another baby, a divorce and buying a house, Evans kept her focus on that goal.
“I need to get this done,” she would tell herself. “The older you get, it's harder.”
Family, friends and her employer have been there to support her along the way, she said.
That support system includes son Caden, 10, and daughter Payton, 3, who know the UCO campus as “Mommy's school.”
Evans said her friend from high school, Koshia Silver, has been a constant supporter.
Silver also attended UCO and earned her degree in public relations. When Evans left after one year, Silver kept in touch.
“I knew she would come back to school,” Silver said. “She's always been that way, finish something when you have started it.”
Silver works at the College of Business, where she has watched Evans go to class on lunch break and before work.
“She kept going one class at a time, three or six hours at a time, whatever she could do,” Silver said.
“That's incredibly rare,” she said. “If anyone could have done it, it would be her.”
Silver said Evans' example is encouraging to others who can take only one or two classes each semester. It tells them “you can do it.”
Growing up, Evans said, she learned the importance of being able to take care of yourself. College always was part of her plan, even though no one else in her immediate family earned a degree.
“I wanted to do something that would help me in the future,” she said.
Now, Evans is facing that future with new goals. The next is to earn her real estate license.
But she wants to have some fun, too, so she's going to resume dancing lessons.
“That was always my passion in (high) school,” she said.
Evans dreams of dancing on pointe — or on her toes — which requires tremendous strength of the legs and feet.
Silver said she has no doubt that pair of toe shoes is in her friend's future.