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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Nine Children Motivate Student Toward Better Life

March 12, 2013

WP_000207-1“Sitting is not one of my best qualities; I like to keep moving at all times,” says Tiffany Sherrill. That explains a lot. It explains how Tiffany has managed to get her Certified Nursing Assistant training (2008), survive a head-on car crash (2009), stay afloat after a divorce that left her the sole supporter of her seven children (2009) and still enroll in SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting program in which she consistently made the Dean’s List and earned Perfect Attendance at the Hanford campus.

Tiffany’s now nine children, ranging in age from 3-months to 11-years old, see her energy and focus in action every day. “I tell them, if I can do it, they can do it,” she says. “I don’t allow my kids to miss anything they don’t have to. I make it to school every day so they can too.” Her fiancé, Armando, is also a big help. “He works days and kept the kids at night, while I was at school,” says Tiffany, who just completed her program’s externship. Their son, Kaleo, was born toward the end of her program. Tiffany’s mom, Vicky, was there for her every step of the way, as well.

But Tiffany’s story goes much deeper. Her love of the medical field and her need to care for others can be traced to her grandparents, whom she would visit summers in Oklahoma, while she was in elementary school. Tiffany’s grandmother, Ruth, spent 30-years working in a nursing home, caring for the elderly, and Tiffany grew up helping to feed and cheer those in her grandmother’s care. “She taught me that it doesn’t matter what life brings, you just have to rise to the occasion,” says Tiffany, who took that message to heart.

Tiffany’s grandfather, Charles, was another source of inspiration. When she was 7 or 8 years old she helped him deliver a foal that was trapped within the mare’s placenta. “I tore him out of the bag and saved his life,” she says. “And, I promised my grandfather right then that I would make a life out of saving the lives of others.”

She is well on her way. When Tiffany graduates this April, she is already planning her next move up the medical career ladder by focusing on pre-requisites needed to enroll in an RN program. “I love drawing blood and working directly with patients,” she says. “What I write down in their charts is what the doctor needs to begin to treat them.”

Wherever she puts her considerable skill and determination, she will make certain that her children benefit along the way. Not only will they have a more comfortable life in the home Tiffany hopes to buy one day, but they will benefit from being close to the force of nature and source of wisdom that comes directly to them from their mother, their inspiration. She tells them, “Remember, if you reach for the stars, you’ll never accept anything less.”


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