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Memorable Mortarboards

Graduation day wouldn’t be complete without a compelling story. Here are two from this year’s commencement, the first held in the Cintas Center:

• Rickie Bell spent the last eight years attending Xavier during the day and working nights as a janitor at two Cincinnati public schools. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in May after student-teaching at a school, Kilgour, that he also cleaned. “He’s going to be a wonderful teacher. The students at Kilgour love him,” says principal Mary Ronan. “When he talks about teaching, you can tell it’s always been his lifelong dream to do this. He’s been an inspiration to us all.”

• Kim Nuesse is a police officer, single mother and full-time student. She’s also this year’s winner of the persistent student award in the weekend degree program. “I’m around a lot of adults in similar situations: working, raising families and going to school,” says Nuesse, who participated in commencement in May and should earn a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in August. On a typical day, Nuesse drops off her kids and heads to the Loveland Police Department, where she’s a community resource officer. At night, after putting her kids to bed, she studies until midnight. She’s spent almost every Saturday for the past several years in classes. “Despite the obstacles, getting my degree has been so worthwhile.”

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