Student Speaker: ’Share Knowledge, Give Back’

Nina Page shares her incredible story.

Photo by Joe Davis

Nina Page shares her incredible story.

William Castro, Writer

Nina Page has led a very busy life. She not only has a full-time job as an area manager for a social service agency but she is also a single parent to her son, Vince. Page enrolled herself into college in 2012, not just for a college degree, but as a way to better her community.

Page was chosen by the NEIU faculty to be the student speaker at spring commencement. It becomes readily apparent why she was chosen as Provost Helldobler introduced her onto the stage. Page has over 20 years of experience in aiding her community.

These experiences range from caring for those with profound disabilities to holding parenting classes for pregnant women with drug addictions. Suffice to say, she is a completely altruistic person.

“Providing direct services for over 10,000 adults, seniors, and youth in Chicago she will continue to work with this population after she receives her college degree because this is her passion and life work,” Helldobler said as the crowd began to cheer for Page, who made her way to the podium.

Page started her speech by thanking those who supported her throughout her journey. She thanked her family, friends, professors and advisors – even  the program in which she participated.

She was the first person in her family to get a college degree. According to her, it was the Nontraditional Degree Program that made it possible for her to achieve her goal.

“The program was an educational lifeline. It was designed for students like myself, who work full time, are a single parent, and may be just a bit older than the traditional student. It afforded me the flexibility to attend classes in the evening while working 40 plus hours a week,” she said.

Page persevered through college. One of the major hurdles she faced was using D2L. D2L is an online platform from which homework is assigned and turned in. It was such a source of frustration for her she almost quit school.

Yet, she stuck with it and received an “A” in the D2L heavy class. She was so content with her budding college education that she wanted to share everything she had learned.  As an area manager, Page looks over two teams of case managers.  Page would hold mini lessons for her two teams based on what she learned the day prior at school. A pop quiz would ensue and whoever passed would get the day off.

“They started looking forward to me sharing the knowledge I was obtaining from NEIU,” she said.

Page then recounts breaking down into tears when she picked up her cap and gown, “I started crying, I couldn’t believe I was going to graduate.”

Her motivation for making it this far was to give back to her community.

“I feel so grateful in being able to make a difference in people’s lives. I will use my degree to continue working with families in the inner city neighborhoods of Chicago. Because we need to see positive changes in the world. That lift people up and gives them hope for a better life,” Page said.

She ended her speech by addressing the graduating class:

“My fellow graduates we are to take what we learned from our professors and classmates and work to change what is wrong in our world. Whether it’s working with inner city families like myself or whatever your passion may be.

“Also be that example and inspiration to accept everyone for who they are regardless of the skin they’re in.

“Remember that the diversity of students and staff is a reflection of what awaits us in this great big world.”